Targeting of mosques, Muslims reaches new highs

Targeting of mosques, Muslims reaches new highs
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The number of incidents of people targeting mosques and Muslim Americans with threats and violence is on the rise, according to a pair of new reports.

A report this week from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asserted that the 71 cases of vandalism and intimidation of mosques in 2015 were far and away the highest since the group began tracking the incidents in 2009.

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Seventeen of those incidents occurred in November, marking a spike for the year following the killing of 130 people by Islamic extremists in Paris.

Meanwhile, the Center for the Study and Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, provided data to The New York Times showing that the rate of anti-Muslim violence had tripled following the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. 

The analyses follow weeks of heightened anxiety about Muslims in America, including extreme rhetoric from Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump opens new line of impeachment attack for Democrats Bloomberg to spend 0M on anti-Trump ads in battleground states New witness claims first-hand account of Trump's push for Ukraine probes MORE, who has proposed keeping all Muslims out of the country.

The skepticism of Muslim Americans has followed both the attack in Paris as well as this month’s killing of 14 people by a pair of Islamic extremists in San Bernardino.

According to CAIR, which is the largest Muslim civil rights group in the nation but has been denounced by some conservatives for apparent ties to Hamas, some form of harassment, property damage or threat at a mosque occurred at a rate of roughly one every five days this year.

“The incidents in 2015 involved a greater frequency of damage, destruction, vandalism and intimidation than any other year since CAIR started tracking mosque incidents in 2009,” it claimed.

The list of incidents it tracked included verbal assaults, cases of Islamophobic graffiti and vandalism, and a severed pig’s head left at a Philadelphia mosque this month. CAIR's own Washington, D.C., headquarters were briefly evacuated earlier this mointh after the discovery of a suspicious powder.

The analysis from California State University, San Bernardino, looked at FBI data to determine that there were an average of 12.6 suspected hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. per month. That includes assaults against women and girls wearing headscarves and a range of violent threats against Muslims from New York to California.

Many critics of Trump allege that his tough talk is helping contribute to the threats and intimidation.

“No question, he is green-lighting the ugliest bigotry in our country,” Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonProgressives ramp up fight against Facebook Judge threatens to put prison officials in same uncooled cells as inmates Minnesota students file federal lawsuit against school district alleging 'deliberate indifference' to racist incidents MORE (D-Minn.) told The Hill earlier this month.

Ellison, who was the first Muslim American elected to Congress, noted the positive reception Trump has received from white supremacist organizations and communities such as Stormfront and the Ku Klux Klan.

“This cannot be understated how dangerous this is," he said.