FBI reports rise in hate crimes, with biggest spike against Muslims

A woman mourns the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting
(Image credit: Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the FBI said that all reported hate crimes rose in 2015, but ones targeting Muslims increased by a worrisome 67 percent over 2014, to their highest number since 2001, when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks sparked a rash of anti-Muslim violence and harassment. The total number of reported hate crimes rose to 5,850 last year, from 5,479 in 2014, and 257 of those incidents were anti-Muslim, versus 154 in 2014 and 481 in 2001. Hate crimes against black people made up 52 percent of attacks based on race or ethnicity, while 18.7 percent targeted white people and 9.3 percent were aimed at Latinos. Hate crimes against Jews rose 9 percent.

Late last year, Islamist terrorists attacked Paris and San Bernardino, California, and Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. "We saw a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide beginning toward the end of 2015," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, tells The Associated Press. "That spike has continued until today and even accelerated after the election of President-elect Trump." The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented more than 200 hate-crime complaints since the election; the FBI statistics rely largely on self-reporting from law enforcement agencies, leading to widespread belief that the actual number of hate crimes is significantly larger.

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