America has had a spectacularly terrible few weeks. While the death of two black men at the hands of police and five police officers at the hands of a sniper are horrific, there have also been numerous incidents of anti-Muslim violence. These incidents come just as Muslims around the world celebrated the end of the holy month of Ramadan, while also reeling from multiple ISIS attacks on Muslim majority countries, including the holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Whether it is African-Americans being targeted by police or Muslims being targeted by vigilantes, these behaviors have common roots, namely racism, collective punishment, and xenophobia. It is, as such, important to remember the problem of anti-Muslim violence, even as we (hopefully, finally) take steps to address the deep-seeded oppression and violence against African-Americans.
Here is a summary of anti-Muslim violence and bigotry in America that has happened over just the past two weeks.
According to the TC Palm, 200 bikers converged on the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, the Florida mosque once attended by Omar Mateen, and harassed worshipers. The police turned down the Islamic Center’s subsequent request for extra protection, even though there had been threats made against the mosque via social media, phone calls and even people driving by the building.
Two Muslim men were shot and wounded while driving to a mosque in Minnesota. One of the victims reported that the shooter made Islamophobic remarks before opening fire. The FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
In Avon, Ohio, a Muslim businessman from the UAE, who was wearing traditional Gulf Arab attire, was falsely accused of “pledging allegiance to ISIS” by a hotel clerk. Police officers arrived, guns drawn, and handcuffed the man. The stress of being cuffed, at gunpoint, caused the man to suffer a stroke, which he spent several days recovering from in a hospital. The UAE government has since warned its citizens not to wear traditional dress when traveling to the United States because of the danger posed by Islamophobes.
The same day, Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate, Eric Greitens, sent out a fundraising email advertising a bumper sticker reading “ISIS Hunting Permit 2016” in return for a $10 donation. The candidate’s campaign office told ThinkProgress that the stickers sold out in less than a week.
At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said he would “look into” firing hijab-wearing Muslim women TSA employees after a supporter asked “Why aren’t we putting our military retirees on that border or in TSA? Get rid of all these hibi-jabis they wear at TSA?”
Just days after police refused to provide extra security, the Fort Pierce Islamic Center was once again the target of violent Islamophobia. A man attacked a worshiper outside of the mosque after Ramadan night prayers, beating him badly. According to the Palm Beach Post, a witness heard the attacker say “you Muslims need to go back to where you came from.” Four days after this attack, the mosque was finally granted the extra police security it had initially requested.
A Houston doctor, Arslan Tajammul, was robbed, stabbed, and shot twice while on his way to morning prayers at the Madrasah Islamiah mosque. Dr. Tajammul is recovering and the investigation is ongoing. His wife made a moving statement the next day regarding the incident, reminding those gathered outside the hospital that:
…regardless of why [the perpetrator] did it, the truth is that Muslims live in an increasingly scary reality, with hatred being spread by members of our communities, Muslims or not. The message of hate comes from a small portion of our societies, and we cannot let that narrative of hate overcome us.
You can listen to her full statement below.
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) July 4, 2016
The same day, two teenagers were beaten and called terrorists outside a mosque in Brooklyn. The police initially told Buzzfeed News that it did not have a record of the incident, even though the beating was caught on camera. The police later confirmed that officers had been called to the scene, but denied that any sort of “bias” motivated the attack.
A vandal scratched a swastika and the word “ISIS” onto the hood of a Muslim woman’s car in Lynwood, Washington. The woman is an Iraqi refugee who fled to the United States after her father was murdered for working with the U.S. military.
In Palmdale, California another Muslim-American had the windows of his truck smashed as well as a swastika and the words “USA,” “terroist [sic]” and “F**k Muzlim [sic]” spray painted on the hood.
Unknown assailants shot at a mosque in College Station, Texas. The building was damaged but no one was inside at the time.
The map below tracks violent crimes and non-violent acts of bigotry against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in the United States, since December 2015. To report additional incidents for inclusion in the map, please contact the map’s creator, Ehsan Zaffar, here.