According to new data, attacks on Muslim Americans in 2015 reached levels unseen since immediately after September 11.
According to Pew, there were 91 reported “aggravated or simple assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias” in 2015—just two shy of the 92 reported in 2001, when Islamophobic acts spiked after the 9/11 attacks.
Pew also found that anti-Muslim intimidation crimes—threats of bodily harm— in 2015 also rose to their highest level since 2001, although by a wider margin: 120, as compared to 296 a decade and a half ago.
While not directly related, Pew’s analysis seems to corroborate another recent study on anti-Muslim sentiment in America—“Atheists and Other Cultural Outsiders: Moral Boundaries and the Non-Religious in the United States,” published this summer by the journal Social Forces.” That paper, while focused ostensibly on attitudes toward religious non-believers, also indicated that there has been a sharp increase in negative feelings toward Muslims, with the percentage of people who agreed with the statement “this group [Muslims] does not at all agree with my vision of American society” leapt from 26.3% in 2003 to 45.5% in 2014.
All told, the FBI reported 301 individual crimes against Muslims in 2015, over 70% of which were targeted against people, as opposed to property or possessions. As alarming as that statistic seems, it’s all the more troubling when compared with the rate of crimes aimed at other minority groups, such as Jews, or Catholics. In those cases, Pew reports, the majority of incidents involved vandalism, rather than attacks on people.
The announcement comes as America experiences a wave of racist attacks in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. It’s chilling to think, after all of this, what the 2016 statistics will look like.