Trump Speeches Linked To Rise In Anti-Muslim Violence
A recent article published by ‘The Atlantic’ has highlighted research that confirms that extreme political rhetoric contributes to a rise in hate crimes against Muslims in America.
Donald Trump the Republican candidate for the US Presidential election, has expressed ideas about who belongs to America and who doesn’t. Quotes like ‘a country under siege from refugees, immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims’, ‘making America great again’ and ‘taking our country back’ have strongly influenced the way Americans treat their fellow citizens.
There are direct parallels to the ‘leave the European Union’ campaign in Great Britain, it played on the fears of citizens that ‘we are under attack from outsiders’. This strategy proved to be successful, however hate attacks against ethnic minorities increased as a result.
Brian Levin, Director at the California State University, San Bernardino’s Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism suggests that political rhetoric plays a role in fuelling hate crimes in America.
Their report shows that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States in 2015, increased sharply, to the highest levels since the 9/11 New York terror attacks. It suggests that Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric contributed to this backlash.
The crimes include the arson of Mosques, assaults, shootings and threats of violence.
Trump’s incendiary comments peaked with calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the USA and holding a ‘national registry of US Muslims’. This came after the San Bernardino terror attack, where 14 people were killed in a mass shooting by a Muslim couple, in December 2015.
A steep rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes by 88%, occurred after Trump’s controversial address.
Other senior US politicians call for calm, peace and tolerance after such terror related attacks, this actually reduces the hate crimes in the community.
However a few days after Trump’s responses there is a documented increase the number and severity of hate related attacks against US Muslims. This is an extremely worrying and concerning situation. Some have described Trump’s speeches as ‘inciting violence.
Further Trump quotes like ‘Islam hates us’, ‘being tough on terror’, accusing American Muslims of ‘protecting terrorists’ and US Muslim refugees were recently described as ‘the cancer from within’ all these enhance the toxic, negative narrative. The mainstream media has also benefited from the ratings of these outbursts, making Trump more popular in the process.
It is clear that Islamophobic political rhetoric for votes to win elections, has devastating, long term consequences for all Muslims.
Trump has successfully seized upon people’s fears and anxieties, leading to increased hostility and violent attacks against US Muslims. As referenced by a Georgetown University report in May 2016.
The knock on effects for American Muslims are further marginalization and outright violence. The US Muslim community feels mistrusted, undergo more surveillance with ethnic profiling putting a strain on their relationship with their own country.
The USA has huge issues for example with the treatment of black people by the police and the vast numbers of citizens killed by gunshot by other Americans. However the main political focus has been thrust upon the perceived threat of US Muslims.
We are seeing a trend of increased popularity of right wing, anti-Muslim politicians, not only in the USA but also Europe and Australia.
My concerns are that Trump will become the next US President, with severe long term consequences for Muslims in America and those living around the world.