Winter Hate Report: Mosques vandalized, Muslim student assaulted in Portland, 70-year old Indian woman attacked in her motel
Last week, violence targeting Indian Muslims in Delhi left at least 42 people killed. The violence comes after a series of unjust and exclusionary actions by the right wing BJP government, including the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and establishment of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and is a disturbing development in the overall rise of Hindu nationalism. SAALT, along with 24 South Asian organizations, issued a statement condemning the hate-fueled violence and the state’s role in it, calling on community members to speak up against the ideology of Hindutva, which is essentially a belief in Hindu racial and cultural superiority. Similar to white supremacy, which South Asians (including Hindus) in the United States contend regularly with, Hindutva threatens the rights, bodies, freedoms, and livelihoods of non-Hindus in India.
- On December 31st, Meena Puri, the 70-year old Indian owner of Hub Motel in Redwood, was brutally attacked by James David Lamb in an act of racist violence. Puri was hospitalized as she had suffered ‘injuries to her throat, as well as a black eye and a broken shoulder.’
- On January 6th, a Muslim student from Saudi Arabia was assaulted by perpetrator Jasmine Campbell at a Portland train station. Campbell attacked the Muslim student, removed her hijab, and attempted to choke the woman with her hijab — Campbell then proceeded to use the hijab to intimately touch her own body.
- On January 19th, the Islamic Center of Charleston was vandalized with spray paint by three young men.
- On January 19th, a Muslim man was verbally harassed and physically assaulted by his Uber customer in Middletown, Ohio.
- On January 30th, the Islamic Center of Charleston was again vandalized — for the second time in two weeks — with spray paint by the aforementioned three young men.
- On February 15th, Yasirah Nelson was attacked with anti-Muslim expletives (accompanied by loud gunshot-like “pops”) in her Jackson neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan. The perpetrators were found to be 13-year old boys who were using fireworks.
Elected officials and government representatives continue to overtly and politically weaponize Islamophobic rhetoric within the United States. SAALT has recorded 3 incidents of xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric since December 31st, 2019.
- Indiana councilman, Roger Stewart — who replaced Greg Jones, after his Islamophobia was publicized — posted on his private Facebook account the following message: “I refuse to bend, twist or change to make Muslims feel comfortable in MY COUNTRY…” He also verbally assaulted Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesotan Democrat. Stewart refuses to resign despite national demands.
- President Trump visited New Delhi and leader of the ruling BJP Hindu fascist party, Prime Minister Modi, amidst an explosion of anti-Muslim riots and violence across India. Trump refused to discuss the violence or its connections to violence in the U.S., where anti-Muslim hate crimes have been on the rise since his inauguration.
- Wisconsin deputy prison warden, Richard “Sam” Schneiter, posted memes on social media that compared Muslim children to garbage. He was fired in November 2019.
SAALT and its partners have tracked 307 incidents of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric, and 548 incidents of hate violence victimizing Muslims and those perceived as Muslim, since 2015.
SAALT is continuing to work with partners to address Islamophobia within the U.S., the subcontinent, and the ways in which they impact each other. Find our statement with Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Equality Labs, Stand with Kashmir, Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, DesiQ Diaspora (DQD), Sakhi for South Asian Women, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Students Against Hindutva (SAH), Atlanta Kashmiri Community, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia, The Sikh Coalition, Council Of Peoples Organization, API Chaya, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), South Asians Building Accountability & Healing (SABAH), India Home, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), Chhaya CDC, Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSIA), South Asian Workers’ Center — Boston, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Jakara Movement here.