This Year in Hate: Reflections and Resolution of Continued Resistance

As we usher in the new year, we reflect on a year of hate incidents that shook our communities as well as our continued resolution of resistance and solidarity. Between January 2018 and December 2018, SAALT documented a total of 90 incidents of hate violence and 41 incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab American communities.

Significant trends found in 2018 include:

  • Similar to 2017, verbal assaults remain the most pervasive form of hate violence committed against our communities followed by property damage, and physical assaults.
  • All of the incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric in 2018 stemmed from anti-Muslim sentiment.
  • Fourteen mosques were damaged by incidents of hate violence.
  • Fifteen Muslim women, eleven of whom wear hijabs, were victims of hate violence.
  • Nine Sikh men were victims of hate violence.
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In December 2018, SAALT documented five incidents of hate violence. Two of the four incidents have been tagged as property damage, two physical assaults, and one verbal/written assault.

  • On December 3, 2018, Islamophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic stickers were found placed on signs around Johnston, Rhode Island. The sticker showed a white hand on a black background holding out a middle finger above the word, “Islam.”
  • On December 4, 2018, a couple found an anti-Muslim hate message written on the base of the walkway bridge to Randalls Island, New York reading “Kill Muslims”.
  • On December 17, 2018, a Muslim student in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was physically assaulted by another student in a high school bathroom. The Muslim student, who wears a hijab, was pushed and punched by the perpetrator while it was being filmed.
  • On December 29, 2018, a Muslim-American mother and daughter visiting Dallas,Texas from Oklahoma were attacked for wearing hijabs. They were confronted by a woman who told the pair to go back to their country before getting aggressive and assaulting the Muslim women.
  • On December 31, 2018, a Muslim family was threatened on a highway in Shakopee, Minnesota. The driver made disturbing hand gestures and brought his truck close to the family’s car. The mother of the family, who wears a hijab, took a video of the harasser.

Since November 2016, we have documented nearly 450 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric around the country (See Figure 2). This breaks down further to 311 incidents of hate violence and 135 incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric.

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In 2018 alone, we logged over 40 incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities. Among those incidents, SAALT documented one incident of xenophobic political rhetoric in the month of December, which was aimed at newly elected Muslim Members of Congress:

  • On December 5, 2018 E.W. Jackson, conservative pastor and commentator, went on an anti-Islamic tirade on his radio show claiming, “The floor of Congress is now going to look like an Islamic republic,” Jackson said. “We are a Judeo-Christian country. We are a nation rooted and grounded in Christianity and that’s that. And anybody that doesn’t like that, go live somewhere else. It’s very simple. Just go live somewhere else. Don’t try to change our country into some sort of Islamic republic or try to base our country on Sharia law.”

Resolution of Continued Resistance

Last week, Americans welcomed the most diverse freshman class of House lawmakers in history by swearing in Members of Congress who are Black, Immigrant, Muslim, First Nation, and/or LGBTQ. In the upcoming year we hope to push comprehensive hate crime laws that counter hate without surveilling and jeopardizing the safety of our communities.

Review our previous “This Week in Hate” posts here and here.

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A national social justice org working on policy analysis/advocacy on issues affecting the South Asian community: immigration, post 9/11 backlash.

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