The annual release of the FBI’s hate crime statistics report has attracted little attention by the mainstream media in the past few years. The most recent report, however — revealing a rise in hate crimes targeting Muslims and whites in 2016 — has been greeted with more notice than usual by the daily newspapers; even CNN chimed in to highlight the results of the report.
The reason for the sudden interest in the report was that its data appeared to confirm some of the conventional wisdom about the impact of the U.S. 2016 presidential election on anti-Muslim sentiment in America. According to the report, compared to 2015, there were increases in most categories of hate crimes. The bulk of them were based on race, ethnicity and ancestry — with the total number of such incidents rising by 5%. Still, it is the increase in anti-Muslim crimes, which increased by 20% since 2015, that stands out.
As bad as that sounds, there are those, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who consider it to be merely another piece of evidence that America has become a hostile place for Muslims since the September 11, 2001 attacks – and particularly since Donald Trump began running for president. In fact, the ADL, which has long held that hate crimes are under-reported, due to the lack of uniform procedures for compiling data in different states around country, views the FBI report as simply the tip of the iceberg.