Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FBI Hate Crimes Report for 2009 Shows--Anti-Jewish Attacks Nine Times More Common Than Anti-Muslim Ones

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By Barry Rubin

If anyone tells you that the United States is a nest of Islamophobia and that's a huge problem that must be atoned for by all sorts of measures, just give them the official FBI hate crime statistics. The numbers are now out for 2009 and can be seen here.

The number of antisemitic attacks on Jews in America is almost nine times higher than there are attacks against Muslims.

From 2008 to 2009 the number of anti-Muslim attacks rose by one percent. During the same time period, the number of attacks on Jews went up by six percent, an increase six times greater.

So despite thousands of terrorist attacks, the arrests of would-be Islamist terrorists, the killings of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by Islamist radicals, America has proved remarkably immune from actively hating or trying to hurt Muslims in the country.

In the main chart, the number of religious attacks is given as 1,303. Of these, 931 were against Jews and 107 against Muslims. Of the remainder,  51 were against Catholics, 38 against Protestants, 109 were against other religions, 57 against more than one religion, and 10 against atheists or agnostics. That "other religions" category is confusing. If that means Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists face as many attacks as do Muslims that would suggest a very big problem that isn't being addressed.

Of course, there are still 3199 racially motivated hate crimes (against African-Americans, 2284); 777 ethnically inspired ones (483 against Hispanics); and 1223 against homosexuals.

Note however that in proportional terms a Jew is two to three times more likely to suffer some kind of hate crime than an African-American. The difference is that the overall intensity of individual incidents against African-Americans is more severe but this statistic still gives a sense of the situation. (Note)

Here's what's interesting.

Which mass media outlets will report how much the numbers differ from the perceptions that many of them have worked so hard to promote?

How many mainstream publications will carefully avoid pointing out who the real main victims of hate crimes are in today's America? Note how many mass media outlets cover this story while avoiding the facts laid out above.

Is anyone going to do some soul-searching or change their behavior regarding the bashing of Jews and Israel, especially on campuses?

Will people in academia, media, and government sing the praises of America as a remarkably tolerant society when it comes to religion?

UPDATE: I am told that the CNN coverage explained none of the above points, focused on hate crimes against homosexuals, and blamed an upsurge in "fundamentalist" Christianity for these attacks.

[Note: African-Americans are roughly four to six times more numerous in the American population but suffer only a bit more than twice as many hate crimes.]

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

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