A new report [text] compiled by California State University, San Bernardino [official website] and released on Saturday found an increase in hate crimes in 2015, particularly among Muslims and Arab-Americans. The study compiled data from 20 states, representing over 53 percent of the national population. Overall hate crimes across the 20 states increased by about 5 percent. However, hate crimes against Muslims increased by 78 percent. The number of Anti-Muslim hate crimes committed in these twenty states alone (196) is so high that even if no other hate crimes were reported in any other states, it would still signal the highest increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Hate crimes against Arab-Americans increased by over 200 percent and attacks against Transgender individuals increased about 40 percent, although the researchers warn this could be affected by improvements in data collection. The director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism [official website] at the university believes the rise may be caused [NYT report] in part by the political discourse in the country, and a slight increase has been noticed after a candidate makes incendiary comments about the Muslim population. Official statistics for 2015 from the FBI are due to be released in November.
In recent years, Muslims have faced increased discrimination in the United States and other western countries. Last month, France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State overturned [JURIST report] the ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits in the French city of Cannes, although authorities have continued attempts to ban the garment in the cities of Nice and Bastia [JURIST reports]. In January, the New York Police Department (NYPD) agreed [JURIST report] to a settlement in two civil rights lawsuits accusing the NYPD of wrongfully monitoring Muslims after the 9/11 attacks. Two years earlier, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly admitted [JURIST report] that the NYPD spied on mosques and on a Muslim preacher but requested that the court dismiss the complaint. In 2015, The French Human Rights League and the Collective against Islamophobia issued a statement [JURIST report] urging the French government to lift the state of emergency as members of the French Muslim population alleged abuse and unfair targeting of Muslims.