World

NEW YORK – US top spy agency FBI has revealed shocking figures of increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 to their highest number since the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

According to statistics revealed on Monday, last year, there were 257 reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to 154 the year before,  suggesting a 67 percent increase. The number of reported hate crimes against Muslims peaked at 481 in 2001, following the 9/11 carnage.

Overall, the number of hate crimes reported by law enforcement agencies to the FBI increased 6.7 per cent, from 5,479 incidents in 2014 to 5,850 last year.

The total is far lower than the numbers seen in the early 2000s, but the FBI release comes amid numerous reports of attacks nationwide based on race and religion following Donald Trump’s victory.

The most recent reporting covers calendar year 2015, which included the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, as well as Republican Donald Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslims entering the US. All of the above incidents, however, did not occur until the final two months of the year.

Critics opine Trump’s pledge has contributed to anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.

“We’ve seen how words from public figures like Donald Trump translate into violence,” said Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the US.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, narrated a complete new view by expressing that he was not surprised to see the large increase in 2015 adding he expected the trend to continue.

“We saw a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide beginning toward the end of 2015. That spike has continued until today and even accelerated after the election of President-elect Trump,” Hooper said.

There have been reports of racist and anti-religious incidents around the country since the Nov 8 election last week.

Two students at a vocational school in York County, Pennsylvania, held a Donald Trump sign in a hallway as someone shouted “white power”, an incident captured on video and widely shared on social media.

In Silver Spring, Maryland, a banner advertising a Spanish-language service at an Episcopal church was slashed and the words “Trump nation. Whites only” were written on the back, Dawn news reported.

Authorities on two California State University campuses, in San Diego and San Jose, are investigating reports that two women wearing headscarves were attacked.

On Sunday, Trump said he had not heard reports that some of his supporters might be harassing minorities.

“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump said during an interview, “And I say, stop it. If it, if it helps, I will say this and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

According to the FBI report, the majority of hate crimes were motivated by bias against race or ethnicity. Of the 4,216 victims of hate crime motivated by race or ethnicity, 52% were black, 18.7% were white and 9.3% were Hispanic or Latino. Crimes against Jews increased about 9%.

Civil rights groups are urging the US authorities to put an end to the burgeoning racism and xenophobia in the country in the aftermath of Trump’s landslide victory.