There Have Been 19 Hate Crimes Against Muslims in the Past Week|
A wave of violence targeting Muslims has spread across the country since Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks.
In the days since Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from the US in a December 7 speech, there has been a wave of anti-Muslim attacks across the US, with some being prosecuted under hate crime laws. Because all of these incidents took place just in the past week, none of the alleged perpetrators mentioned here have been convicted. And while not all of the victims mentioned are Muslims, they were undoubtedly targeted due to the perpetrator’s false perception that the victim was Muslim.
2015 has been the deadliest year on record for American Muslims, with 63 recorded attacks on mosques. The previous high was 2010, with 53 attacks targeting Islamic worship centers. 17 of those attacks took place in November. That’s also three times as many Mosque attacks when compared to last year. In 2014, Muslims were the target of 154 hate crimes. The number for 2015 hasn’t yet been tallied, although this year’s hate crime number is expected to surpass the 2014 total.
Here’s a list of violent acts carried out against Muslims and perceived Muslims in just the past week:
North Palm Beach, Florida: 27-year-old Joshua Killets was arrested for smashing windows and overturning furniture at the Islamic Center of Palm Beach. Killets had previously posted Islamophobic content on his Facebook profile. Killets even bragged about committing the act to the person who reported the incident to local police.
Saint Louis, Missouri: A man who identified as a “former Marine” called the Saint Louis office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-STL), threatening to chop off the heads of any Muslims who came to his home.
Manhattan, New York: 26-year-old Robert Murino, of Brooklyn, was arrested for assaulting employees of a Midtown restaurant and accusing them of supporting ISIS in an Islamophobic rant. After telling one employee he would “fuck [her] up,” Murino punched an employee who attempted to intervene. After being escorted out of the restaurant, Murino later returned and threw a chair through a glass partition. He has been charged with a hate crime.
Washington, DC: U.S. Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), one of only two Muslims members of Congress, received a death threat. Rep. Carson blamed the death threat on the “toxic environment” of US politics, created in part by Donald Trump’s escalating rhetoric targeting ethnic minorities.
“What concerns me is you have the demagoguery taking place from people seeking to become president of the United States,” Rep. Carson told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A red pickup truck threw a pig’s head at the front door of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society early Monday morning before driving off. Islam is well-known for forbidding Muslims from eating pork or coming into contact with pigs. No arrests have been made.
Twin Falls, Idaho: The Islamic Center of Twin Falls was vandalized on Monday, with the words “HUNT CAMP?” spray painted on its windows. The man who reported the vandalism to police speculated that the vandal’s words are likely in reference to an internment camp in Idaho for Japanese-Americans during World War II, commonly referred to as the Hunt Camp. In this case, it seems the vandal is calling for American Muslims to be detained in similar camps.
Jersey City, New Jersey: A mosque in Jersey City received an anonymous threatening letter telling members to “go back to the desert,” and calling Muslims “evil.” The letter also mentioned Donald Trump’s claim that Muslims in Jersey City were celebrating the 9/11 attacks — a claim that Politifact rated as “Pants on Fire.”
Grand Forks, North Dakota: 25-year-old Matthew William Gust set fire to the Somali-owned Juba Coffee House and Restuarant with a molotov cocktail, causing $90,000 in damages. Gust has been charged with a class B felony for arson, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
State College, Pennsylvania: 19-year-old Nicholas Tavella, a Penn State student, grabbed an Indian student by the throat while he was crossing an intersection, telling him, “Don’t make me put a bullet in your chest.” Tavella admitted to police he racially profiled the student, saying he appeared to be Middle Eastern. Tavella is charged with felony ethnic intimidation, and faces misdemeanor charges of terroristic threatening, simple assault, disorderly conduct and stalking and harassment.
Queens, New York: Sarker Haque, owner of the Fatima Food Mart in Queens, was assaulted by 55-year-old Piro Kolvani, who said “I kill Muslims” during the attack. Kolvani has been charged with a hate crime.
Buena Park, California: A Sikh temple was vandalized on Wednesday, just 50 miles from San Bernardino. Anti-Muslim graffiti, expletives, and references to ISIS were left on the walls of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha. While Sikhism is different than Islam, Sikhs are often perceived as Muslims due to their appearance and clothing. A hate crime inquiry has been opened in regard to the vandalism.
Seattle, Washington: Just before 9 PM local time Wednesday night, a ride-share driver was assaulted by a man in a group of three passengers, who accused him of being a terrorist. The driver demanded the trio exit his car, but as they were leaving, the aforementioned man reached inside the car and began punching the driver. The man in question has been arrested and charged with Washington’s hate crime statute.
Seattle, Washington: Hamza Warsame, a 16-year-old Somali-born teen, was severely beaten and thrown from a sixth-story window in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Hamza’s family claims his attackers were from Seattle Central College, where Hamza went to school.
Plano, Texas: A Muslim family had their windows smashed twice this week by an unknown assailant. The family had been in their new home for less than a month, and they believe the attacks are due to their religion.
“More than the damage — it’s not the window — it’s the terrifying factor of it,” the homeowner told a local CBS affiliate. “It is them trying to terrorize us or scare us. The kids are scared, they don’t want to go up or down alone.”
Sacramento, California: On December 10, a hate crimes investigation was opened against Denise Slader, an employee for the California Department of Corrections. Slader was caught on video attacking two Muslim men praying in a public park with her fists and a cup of hot coffee.
Santa Clara, California: Police had to evacuate a local office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations after a letter containing a suspicious white powder was discovered. While the substance came back as harmless, the letter ominously read, “Die a painful death, Muslims.” Two similar letters were also sent to the Washington, DC CAIR office.
Tampa, Florida: Two Muslim women wearing head scarves were violently attacked on different occasions by angry Islamophobes in Tampa. One woman reported being shot at as she was leaving a mosque in Tampa. Another woman reported that a man cut her off in traffic, threw rocks at her vehicle from the window of his car, and at one point, exited his vehicle and screamed at her.
Phoenix, Arizona: Windows were smashed and an office under construction was ransacked at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix on Friday.
“It makes me sad. I’ve been a resident of Phoenix for almost 20 years and this is my home. We have a lot of support from the community and it just takes one person like that to poison the atmosphere,” Usama Sharmi, president of the mosque, told ABC 15.
Coachella, California: On Friday afternoon, a mosque in Coachella, California, not far from San Bernardino, was firebombed while people were inside. While no injuries were reported, the possible hate crime is under investigation by the FBI and the ATF.