Tag Archives: violence

‘Off the Charts’ Violence Against Muslims Ravaging US Communities

New data confirms anecdotes of rising Islamophobic violence reflect nationwide trend

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-18-15.
A view of damage at the burned Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley on December 12, 2015, in Coachella, California. Image vis Facebook.

A view of damage at the burned Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley on December 12, 2015, in Coachella, California. Image vis Facebook.

From an attack on a hijab-wearing sixth grader in the Bronx to the arson of a mosque near Palm Springs, reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims are more than troubling anecdotes, but rather, reflect a measurable nationwide rise in Islamophobic violence, according to two separate studies released this week.

Researchers with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University (CSU) found that anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

According to The New York Times, which obtained the study ahead of its public release, there has been an average of 12.6 “suspected hate crimes” against U.S. Muslims per month for the past several years. But since the Paris attacks in mid-November, that monthly number has climbed to 38 attacks that are “anti-Islamic in nature.”

Such crimes include arson and vandalism of mosques, shootings, and death threats.

“The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger,” CSU researcher Brian Levin told Timesreporter Eric Lichtblau.

While the researchers said the attacks have not quite reached the levels seen in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, they identified similarities in the climate, including attacks on Sikh people falsely believed to be Muslim.

The university’s data corroborates a report released this week by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which noted a severe rise in attacks on mosques, including vandalism, destruction, and intimidation.

In fact, CAIR said the 29 documented attacks on Mosques in 2015 is the highest annual number the advocacy organization has recorded since it began keeping track in 2009. The group noted that “November 2015 was the most significant spike, with a total of 17 mosque incidents, with all but 2 of those incidents occurring in the wake of the November 13 Paris terror attacks.”

These attacks are not happening in a vacuum.

“We are seeing an unbelievably toxic, anti-Muslim environment in our society that is being encouraged and exploited by public figures like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and others,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIR, told Common Dreams. “This is leading to fresh incidents of hate crimes nationwide.”

Hooper described the violence as “off the charts,” adding: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it.”

Fresh incidents this week underscore the trends highlighted in both reports.

All schools in Augusta County, Virginia were closed on Friday after a world geography class taught a lesson on Arabic calligraphy—which then prompted a racist and Islamophobic backlash.

And in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week, a Sikh store clerk was reportedly called a “terrorist” and then shot in the face by an individual demanding money from the register.

Over the past month, people across the United States have staged rallies, vigils, and speak-outs against rising Islamophobic violence, including a mobilization in New York earlier this month under the banner of “Human Rights Trump Oppression.” Large numbers are expected to gather at a demonstration on Friday in San Francisco, organized by the Arab Organizing and Resource Center, calling for the “upholding of the dignity of communities.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Share

Breaking the Silence: What Rape Feels Like

The investigator leaned across his desk.

“What were you wearing?” He asked as if that made a difference. When my answer didn’t satisfy him, he asked the next one.

“Had you been drinking/”

Questions like these not only signaled to me that somehow this person felt it necessary to place partial blame on me for the crime I was victim to.

By U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s what really happened.

It was 11:30 pm.

I left my job and walked to my car. Jolted by the cold wind, I unlocked the door and slipped inside as quickly as I could.

Before I could insert the key into the ignition, I felt his arm around my neck. I smelled the stench of his breath and felt its heat on the back of my neck as every hair raised in a cold chill. His other hand came from the side, showing me the gun it held.

He somehow pulled me into the back seat and held the gun to my head as he demanded I remove my slacks. His assault was brutal, each thrust a pain like a knife as my body rejected him despite the gun. By the time he was done I was swallowing my own vomit to prevent him from pulling the trigger.

After relieving my stomach and finding what was left of my clothing, I drove to my apartment and stumbled up the flight of steps. Without thinking, I ignored my roommates and went immediately to the bathroom, where I threw up again and began filling the bathtub. I wanted the smell, feel and memory of him gone.

It took four days for close friends to talk me into reporting the incident.

After picking the person out of a photo identification process, I was told to go home and I would hear something soon. I’m still waiting. This happened in 1980.

I still carry the scars today. From the PTSD diagnosis to just not feeling at ease around strangers, daily reminders of my nightmare creep into my current world.

We have gained little since then – in how we handle rape victims and in how we punish the rapist. 68% of rapes are never reported to the police. 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail or prison.

The most offensive are the men that take it upon themselves to discuss rape like they are an authority on the subject; unless they are a rapist or a victim, they are not. I hear politicians say things that not only are insulting, they continue to place blame on the victim. Our justice system will be more lenient on a rapist than any other charge – because they think it is a “he said, she said” argument.

And now – to make everything even worse – we are hearing discussions about the rights of the father and how a raped woman should not be allowed to abort the unwanted pregnancy. Forced indenturehood has a name in our country, it is called slavery.

This is no longer a women’s issue. This is a national crisis. We have all the money in the world to pour into a military budget, so men can go blow things up somewhere, but we will not spend an additional dime to protect our own mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. We expect them to protect themselves, and if that plan fails, we blame them by asking what they were wearing, if they had been drinking, or did they ever smile at the person.

What are you going to do to help change this?

Share

When Trust Becomes a Casualty of War

By Kani Xulam, Guest Contributor. Originally published February 13, 2015 in Rudaw. Republished here with author’s permission.

American Sniper. Image via Facebook.

American Sniper. Image via Facebook.

President Obama says we’re in a “season of fear.” A leading Washington commentator writes a book that echoes his sentiment, National Insecurity. The Islamic State barbarians burn a Jordanian pilot alive—and before that, this past August, they also kidnapped and enslaved as many as 5000 Yezidi women and girls.

Perhaps this sordid slice of our turbulent reality is propelling Americans in record-setting numbers to Hollywood’s latest blockbuster, American Sniper, a biopic celebrating the life and exploits of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sharpshooter in the history of American military. Continue reading

Share