SHAFAQNA – STATISTICS SHOW NEARLY 200% RISE IN ANTI-MUSLIM HATE GROUPS IN THE U.S. 2016 witnessed a significant rise in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in America. Hate groups in 2016 nearly tripled from 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attributes this in part to the rise in radical Islamic attacks and Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.
Statistics from the SPLC indicate there were 34 hate groups in the U.S. in 2015. The number shot up to 101 in 2016, a nearly 200 percent rise. The rise is by far the most dramatic change seen among extremist groups in the U.S. to date. This is not a surprise. In June 2016, there was a mass murder of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Radical Islamists drove the mass murder and this in part fueled the rise of hate groups among the U.S. population. The SPLC report lists that anti-Muslim groups do not consider Islam as a religion but rather as an evil political ideology. The groups also believe in conspiracy theories according to which, Muslims are trying to replace American and European governments with Islamic principles.
The Trump administration is said to provide a lifeline for the hate groups. Once on the fringes of American politics, Trump’s “threats to ban Muslim immigration, mandate a registry of Muslims in America and more,” commented Mark Potok, a senior fellow at SPLC, have provided fuel for hate groups to proliferate. During Trump’s campaign, the influence of anti-Muslim hate groups was readily palpable. He called for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country citing a poll conducted by Conway. Trump also proposed creating a national database of the Muslims living in America and he was quite vocal in his quest to have mosque surveillance and Muslims profiling. “The anti-Muslim groups are the best-funded of radical right-wing groups in this country.
The groups have received millions of dollars in funding in recent years to peddle fear and misinformation about Islam and Muslims,” remarked Potok. To support his claims, he quoted figures according to a report from Georgetown University. David Horowitz, of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is said to have earned $567,000 while Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy earned $200,000. “Hating Muslims pays well,” added Potok. Muslim students in American campuses live in fear due to the rise of hate groups, even in educational institutions. The Council on American-Islamic Relations warns campus officials against taking a backseat on the issue. “It is clear that these signs, which were used to vandalize a house of worship, are part of a nationwide campaign by racists and Islamophobes to intimidate the American Muslim community,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper remarked.
According to the SPLC report, American Militia Patriot groups became increasingly anti-Muslim in nature in 2016. The number of patriot groups is also falling. From 998 in 2015, the number has dropped to 623 in 2016. Militias dubbed the “armed wing of the Patriot Movement,” also dropped from 276 to 165 groups. Black separatist groups grew from 180 in 2015 to 193 last year, and so did Confederate groups. The Confederate groups rose in number from 35 to 43 groups.