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US officials, media promoting anti-Muslim hate crimes: Scholar

This file photo taken on May 13, 2016 shows worshipers attending Friday prayers at the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland. (AFP photo)

Anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased 67 percent in 2015 compared with the year before across the United States, according to new statistics released by the FBI. There are speculations that the anti-Muslim behavior has been partially fueled by racist rhetoric of Donald Trump, the US president-elect, during the presidential campaign. Press TV has interviewed a human rights activist to discuss the reasons behind the rise of hate crimes in the United States.

Massoud Shadjareh, with the Islamic Human rights Commission, said that the establishment and media in the United States have created an environment which cultivates hate crimes especially against Muslims.

“We are seeing some sort of environment where politicians, media and indeed officials and even legislations are becoming Islamophobic and they’re targeting Muslims,” Shadjareh said.

He went on to say the American establishment is using the Muslim community as a scapegoat to put the blame of “economic and security problems” on them, saying, “This level of demonization [of Muslim community] is already having great impact on ordinary innocent citizens.”

The human rights activist emphasized that “in this environment of hate, individuals behave in a way that is unaccepted and indeed they are encouraged to be Islamophobic [rhetoric of US politicians]” and attack Muslims.

He warned that the creation of “otherness” is the testimony that something is wrong with the United States and the situation paves the way for hate crimes to grow in the American society.

“Trump could only have been able to win this election because of the environment that has been created; the environment of blaming others for every errors in the society,” Shadjareh stated.

According to the activist, the new report by the FBI just shows the increase of hate crimes against the Muslims, but it does not show the extent of the phenomenon, because majority of people do not go to report most of the hate crimes.

The FBI reported that at least 257 hate crime incidents against Muslims took place in 2015 while 154 cases happened in 2014.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

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