Did presidential election campaign’s political rhetoric stir up anti-Muslim violence?

When Islamophobia Turns Violent: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections by Engy Abdelkader (The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown Univ.) reports on trends and patterns surrounding Islamophobia since the state of the 2016 presidential election cycle. The study does so in the broader context of hatred, violence and social hostilities confronting Muslims as a minority faith group in contemporary America and with a particular focus on acts and threats of violence. The author reports that “Republican candidates to be the worst offenders to date.”

Findings highlighted in the article’s abstract include:

Based upon our analysis, the following observations are noteworthy: The 2016 U.S. presidential season began against a backdrop of already rising Islamophobia in 2015, threatening American Muslim religious freedom. During the course of 2015, there were approximately 174 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism, including: 12 murders; 29 physical assaults; 50 threats against persons or institutions; 54 acts of vandalism or destruction of property; 8 arsons; and 9 shootings or bombings, among other incidents. Anti-Muslim violence remained significantly higher in 2015 than pre- 9/11 levels with American Muslims approximately 6 to 9 times more likely to suffer such attacks. The number of incidents in 2015 is also higher than the total number of anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in 2014: 154.

In 2015, American Muslim men were twice as likely to be victims of physical assaults and 5 to 6 times more likely to be victims of murder than American Muslim women.

Since the first candidate announced his bid for the White House in March 2015, there have been approximately 180 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence, including: 12 murders; 34 physical assaults; 49 verbal assaults or threats against persons and institutions; 56 acts of vandalisms or destruction of property; 9 arsons; and 8 shootings or bombings, among other incidents.

Do note that this study was released on May 2, 2016. — Joe

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