Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Madihha Ahussain, Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry for Muslim Advocates, regarding the 17% spike in hate crimes in 2017, as reported by the FBI:
For the third year in a row, the FBI’s annual data shows an increase in reported hate crimes throughout America, including still historically high rates of hate crimes against Muslims.
This data is just the tip of the iceberg, as jurisdictions nationwide falsely reported that some of the most gruesome anti-Muslim and anti-South Asian hate crimes of 2017 never even happened:
- On February 22, 2017, two Indian-American men were shot and killed at a bar in Olathe, Kansas while the assailant yelled “get out of my country!” The shooter pled guilty to federal hate crime charges.
- On July 6, 2017, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee was once again targeted for vandalism after years of anti-Muslims threats and harassment.
- On August 5, 2017, three militia men bombed a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota and were charged with a federal hate crime, yet Bloomington reported that it had no hate crimes in 2017.
All of these jurisdictions either reported to the FBI that no hate crimes happened in their communities in 2017, or they did not participate in reporting at all. The system for hate crimes reporting is clearly broken and law enforcement agencies across the country are not doing their part to remedy the issue.
There is a pandemic of either non-reporting or underreporting by jurisdictions. According to the FBI’s 2017 data, a majority of participating law enforcement agencies reported zero hate crime incidents for their jurisdictions, despite individual reports and tracking by advocacy organizations that suggest otherwise.
We call on community members, journalists, and advocates across the country to urge their law enforcement agencies to do better. The nation desperately needs Congress and others to reform hate crime reporting, but, in the meantime, it’s up to every person to hold their own police forces accountable and ensure accurate reporting of this horrific scourge sweeping the nation.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.