BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS
Yesterday, the FBI released their comprehensive annual report on hate-crimes committed in the United States. The results may surprise some, and worry others.
According to the findings, of the 1,575 victims of anti-religious hate-crime in 2009:
- 71.9 percent were victims because of an offender's anti-Jewish bias.
- 8.4 percent were victims because of an anti-Islamic bias.
- 3.7 percent were victims because of an anti-Catholic bias.
- 2.7 percent were victims because of an anti-Protestant bias.
- 0.7 percent were victims because of an anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
- 8.3 percent were victims because of a bias against other religions (anti-other religion).
- 4.3 percent were victims because of a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
Focusing on the top two victims, Jews and Muslims, there has been a clear percentage rise in attacks on both over the last year. The FBI's 2008 report showed that that the percentages were 66.1 and 7.5 respectively, based on 1,732 overall victims. Whereas anti-Muslim attacks have gone up by less that 1% (still, any rise is concerning), attacks on Jews have gone up by 6%. This increase chimes with the Community Security Trust's recent report on the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK since Israel's ‘Operation Cast Lead', which ended in early 2009.
However, over the last decade, although anti-Jewish attacks have always remained the highest, and generally rise every year, attacks against Muslims have gone down substantially overall. In 2001, a year which for obvious reasons inflamed ignorant and violent anti-Muslim bigots, Muslims accounted for 26.2% of victims, a number which decreased dramatically by the next year, falling down to 10.5%. Between 2003-06 this number hovered between 10-13%, until it began to fall again in 2007 (8.7%).
If we were to look at these attacks in relation to the percentages of the population, things become even clearer. The estimated numbers of Jews and Muslims in America vary wildly, and it is therefore worth comparing the hate-crime statistics with both the lowest and highest estimates.
- Among the lowest estimates of the Jewish American population comes from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008, which puts them at 2,680,000 (this excludes ethnic Jews). Of this, 1,132 were victims of hate-crime in 2009. That is 0.04% of the American Jewish population. By contrast, 132 Muslims were victims of hate crime in the same year, and the lowest estimate of their numbers lies at 1,349,000 (again from ARIS) (2008 figures). That makes 0.01% of their population victims of hate-crime.
- The highest estimated Jewish population is 6,500,000 (various sources), and this translates to nearly 0.02% of them falling victim to hate-crimes. This is compared to nearly 0.002% of the Muslim population based on the Council on American Islamic Relations' estimate of 7,000,000.
These percentages may be low, but there are still nuggets of useful information here: according to the lowest possible population estimates, Jews are four times more likely than Muslims to be victims of hate crimes in the United States; according to the highest possible estimates, Jews are around ten times more likely to be attacked.
Despite all this, we are still told by agitators on both sides of the Atlantic that ‘Islamophobia' has replaced anti-Semitism, and that Muslims now face a situation similar to European Jews during the run up to the Holocaust. In November, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference claimed that:
I'm afraid that we are going through a process like the beginning of the '30s of the last century, when an anti-Semitic agenda became politically a big issue [together with] the rise of fascism and Nazism .... I think now we are in the first stages of such a thing.
As was pointed out in the Washington Examiner recently, these FBI statistics are not likely to inspire Time magazine to run an anti-Semitism counterpart to its recent ‘Is America Islamophobic?' cover story. That was written during a time when anti-Muslim sentiment was thought to be at its nadir in the US, and in the UK the Guardian claimed that Islamophobia was the new anti-Semitism, as did Daniel Luban and many others in the United States. These FBI statistics seem to suggest that, in fact, anti-Semitism is the ‘new anti-Semitism'.
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London. He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.
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