The number of reported hate crimes in the US increased by around 6.7 per cent last year, due largely to a 67 per cent surge in crimes against Muslims, according to statistics by the FBI.
Concerns have been raised by civil rights group about the anti-Muslim backlash in the US, even before the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California occurred late in the year.
The FBI’s reporting period covered the calendar year of 2015, with the results released at a highly tense time in the country, following last week’s presidential election.
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Racist and anti-religious incidents have been reported since Tuesday sparking outrage, including students at one school chanting “white power” and a videotaped assault in Chicago showing black men beating a white man as onlookers screamed, “You voted Trump!”
There were also suspected cases of alleged hate crimes following Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president in 2008.
In 2015, there were 257 reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to the 184 in the year prior. This figure is second only to the surge in hate crimes following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
It’s possible the increase could be, in part, due to increased reporting of victims as well as improved reporting and tracking by police, although the number of law enforcement agencies sending data to the FBI has decreased about three per cent between 2014 and 2015.
The number of reported hate crimes increased from 5479 in 2014 to 5850 in 2015, with religious-based hate crimes rising by 23 per cent.
Jews and Jewish institutions remain the most frequently targeted of these hate crimes, representing a staggering 53 per cent of the reported cases.
Overall, crimes against Jews increased about nine per cent.