This Week in Hate: Hate at Starbucks, high school, and online
Hate incidents directed at Muslims in June were at an all time high for 2019. SAALT tracked 13 reported incidents of hate directed at Muslims and Muslim communities in the U.S. in June. Of the 13 incidents, 2 were physical assaults, 9 included a verbal/written assault, and 4 were incidents of vandalism or property damage.
Acts of hate violence occurred across the country and were diverse in nature — showing no clear pattern other than a steady rise in incidents since January.
A Muslim woman with her 3-year old child and 8-month old baby was verbally and physically assulated at a Starbucks in Dallas when she accidentially bumped into a woman in line. Messages saying “Sand [n-word] Die,” and “Arab Terror” were found next to a mosque in Norristown, Pennsylvania. A man in Fremont, CA threw rocks at a man wearing a Muslim cap, brandishing a stick in a threatening manner, and saying “you are not allowed to be here,” according to the Fremont Police Department.
- On June 5, 2019, an 18-year old faced charges after allegedly spraying a water hose at a Somali family in Fairbault, Minnesota and calling the children“”f****** Somalians” and “b***** Somalians.”
- On June 10, 2019, the Islamic Center of Waco received an envelope with a letter inside where “the month of Ramadan” was underlined and said that during the holy month, Muslims “‘prey’ and kill people.” The top of the letter read “Jesus, God of Love” and “Allah, God of Hate.”
- On June 11, 2019 CAIR reported that a 15-year old student of Moroccan descent at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School in Maryland was physically and verbally assaulted and taunted with “ISIS,” “terrorist,” “suicide bomber.”
- On June 12, 2019 the words “racist,” “antisemitic” and “homophone” were found over Muhammed Ali’s portion of an iconic mural in Louisville, Kentucky.
- On June 13th, 2019 reports surfaced that a man in Holiday, Florida was arrested for harassing an Iraqi family. The man was accused of throwing nails at a car parked in the family’s driveway and for saying that “ISIS lives there,” referring to the family’s home.
- On June 14th, 2019, it was reported that a 24-year-old, wrote on the “4chan” internet forum that he was going to attack the Baitus Samee Mosque in Houston. When asked why he wanted to attack the mosque, he responded, “Simple, Kebab is like cancer, if you remove it early than [sic] you won’t die.”
- On June 14th, 2019 a man in Fort Myers, Florida was arrested for posting hateful statements and videos on social media. After the California synagogue shooting and New Zealand mosque shootings he posted the he wished they’d killed more people, “I want more of these synagogues to get shot up.”
- On June 17, 2019, the words “Kill Arabs” were spray painted at a bus stop in Brooklyn, NY.
- On June 19 2019, a vandal spray painted “kill Arabs” and “Muslims suck” on the PS52 elementary school in Brooklyn, New York.
- On June 28, 2019 it was reported that Zulfat Suara, who is running for an at-large seat on Metro Council in Nashville, faced discrimination and online threats because of her religion.
This level of amplified hate is a direct consequence of divisive rhetoric from political and community leaders and the discriminatory policies advanced by government institutions against our communities.
Increasingly, we are seeing hate speech documented in social media from law enforcement. Watchdog group The Plain View Project published data on offensive Facebook posts that promote violence, hatred and bigotry made by police officers across the country. Police Departments in Dallas, St Louis, Philadelphia and Florida are investigating the allegations. Propublica released an investigation in early July revealing CBP officers making racist jokes about migrant deaths.
We documented at least two incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric made by elected officials in June.
- On June 5, 2019 Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz announced the establishment of the Congressional Black Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations to fight the rise in white nationalism. The group includes Rep. Lee Zeldin who has made repeated Islamophobic attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar on Twitter.
- On June 15, 2019 President Donald Trump retweeted an attack on London’s mayor Sadiq Khan by Katie Hopkins, a media personality known for making Islamophobic remarks.
SAALT has documented 501 reported incidents of hate and 253 incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric since November 2015. The cycle of vitriolic xenophobic, anti-black, and Islamophobic political rhetoric has fueled violence against our community members. Arab, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, South Asian, Sikh, and Middle Eastern communities continue to be targets of horrific incidents due to race and perceived religious identity.
Despite the continued attacks against our communities, we were encouraged this month by the introduction of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, named after two victims of white supremacy killed exactly one year apart, who were not counted in official FBI hate crime statistics. This legislation is a positive first step in ensuring more accurate hate crimes data collection and providing support for hate crime victims and their families.