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Research Report

Religious Bias Crimes (2000-2009):: Muslim, Christian & Jewish Victims

Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Pages: 42

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-2)
  2. (pp. 3-4)
  3. (pp. 5-6)

    Misperceptions about religious bias hate crimes in America are widespread. This study is a longitudinal comparison of religious bias hate crimes, as reported by the FBI, from the pre-9/11 year of 2000 through 2009, the most recent year for which statistics were available.¹ The assertion that religious bias hate crimes against one group in particular, Muslims in America, have proliferated in the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001 has gained acceptance within media and government, thanks to a steady drumbeat of assertions to this effect from a small but vocal group of advocacy organizations. Internationally, the most aggressive...

  4. (pp. 7-8)

    Although a number of European academics and institutes (particularly the British9) have produced studies on the general topic of “Islamophobia” in the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, few Americans have tackled “hate crimes” from the objective perspective of a neutral academic and empirical study based on the available FBI statistics. Two studies are representative, though unlike our study, neither is a longitudinal study encompassing a tenyear period.

    Jeffrey Kaplan, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh authored a report entitled, “Islamophobia in America?: September 11 and Islamophobic Hate Crime.”10 Although this report...

  5. (pp. 8-10)

    The “Religious Bias Crimes in America” study is a longitudinal look at the instances of religious bias crimes, also known as hate crimes, against Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the United States from 2000 to 2009. The use of the term “Hate Crime” is defined by the FBI in its 1996 Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection14 as well as in its Uniform Crime Reporting Program,15 which find their authorization in the April 23, 1990 “Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990.”16 This legislation requires the U.S. Department of Justice to compile and publish an annual summary of data about...

  6. (pp. 11-12)

    Muslim groups in the U.S. such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), with an interest in presenting the U.S. Muslim population as equivalent to the Jewish one, repeatedly have declared the number of Muslims in the U.S. to be about 6 million persons.20 Within the same range, Chicago Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the 2010 Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions’ Board of Trustees Chairman, has cited 2001 estimates of 5.8 million and 6.7 million Muslims in America.21 On February 3, 2011, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) similarly cited “the reality of 6 million Muslims.”22 A lower...

  7. (pp. 12-12)

    These findings seem to contradict the popular perception that Muslims face more discrimination than Jews in the United States. For example, a Pew poll conducted in 2009 found that 58% of Americans believe there is “a lot of discrimination against” Muslims, opposed to 35% who thought the same for Jews. 25 FBI statistics do show a lower percentage of anti-Jewish hate crimes have identified offenders, which may contribute to the misperception that anti-Jewish hate crimes in the United States are not as prevalent as they really are. Of total known offenders from the period of 2000 to 2009, 56% committed...

  8. (pp. 13-14)

    Concerns about a backlash against Muslims in America arose in the aftermath of 9/11 and were given added impetus by books, studies, and other publications and statements by various organizations and Muslim leadership figures and groups. The November 2002 report by Human Rights Watch, “We Are Not the Enemy: Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11”27 is representative of the genre. Citing a “severe wave of backlash violence” involving “more than two thousand September 11- related backlash incidents” against Arabs and Muslims in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks,...

  9. (pp. 15-17)

    It is imperative that western societies like ours understand the serious implications within Islamic law for accusations of insult to Islam, Islamic doctrine, or Muslims. Under shariah, the offense of slander is defined very differently than in U.S. law. According to the ‘Umdat al- Salik (or Reliance of the Traveller), a book of Islamic law that carries the imprimatur of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the global seat of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, Slander “means to mention anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike…”39 Several pages later, a further explanation is provided: “A person should not speak of anything he...

  10. (pp. 17-19)

    To carry through the Islamic legal principles inherent in the Slander and Blasphemy laws to their logical end point, it is useful to refer to classical as well as modern pronouncements on the elements that Muslim scholars hold necessary to justify and declare defensive jihad. For, in fact, this justification is where accusations of “Islamophobia”, religious “hate crimes,” and insult to Islam plausibly lead. In fact, in numerous cases, hate crime violence or intimidating threats of violence against persons and property in response to perceived “blasphemy” has been a response in the last decade in Muslim-majority countries, and also in...

  11. (pp. 19-20)

    This data presented in this study demonstrate that common perceptions about the incidence of “hate crimes” in America that are directed at individuals or groups on the grounds of religious identification often mistakenly ascribe the majority of such offenses to anti-Muslim sentiment. To the contrary, the 2000-2009 FBI crime statistics data used in this study indicate that the majority of U.S. “hate crimes” in fact are perpetrated against Jews. The spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes following 9-11 did not last longer than nine weeks according to prior research. The most important conclusion may be that total religious bias crimes are...