Fear Stalks Minnesota Muslims?

On the Left, it is widely held that the biggest problem with Islamic terrorism is that it might give rise to “Islamophobia.” That mentality was on display today in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Fear stalks Minnesota Muslims as anti-Islam feeling builds.”

Pig intestines wrapped around the front door handles of the halal grocery store in St. Cloud sent a clear message to store manager Liban Said and his customers: You’re not welcome here.

At a youth basketball tournament in Rochester, a spectator called a player wearing a head scarf a “terrorist.”

A Muslim teen said kids in her class were saying, “You’re in ISIS.”

For Minnesota Muslims, such encounters are signs of rising anti-Islam sentiment sweeping across the country with a fervor not seen in recent years.

The article is basically anecdotal. A total of six anecdotes are cited. Two sentences refer to data:

The latest FBI data show that while hate crimes are down overall in the United States, attacks against Muslims are up.

The latest FBI data were published in 2015 and relate to 2014, so they don’t tell us anything about the alleged current spike in anti-Muslim sentiment. What they do tell us is that in 2014, there were 154 hate crimes recorded against Muslims. By way of comparison, there were 89 directed against Christians and 609 directed against Jews, a large majority of those by Muslims. Muslims perpetrate far more hate crimes than they suffer. Are Minnesota’s Jews stalked by fear?

A new study from Georgetown University shows an uptick in hate crimes targeting Muslims since the start of the Presidential campaign season.

The Georgetown “study” is a bad joke. It is merely an attack on Donald Trump, not even thinly veiled. For example:

During the course of 2015, there were approximately 174 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism, including: 12 murders; 29 physical assaults; 50 threats against persons or institutions; 54 acts of vandalism or destruction of property; 8 arsons; and 9 shootings or bombings, among other incidents. …

The number of incidents in 2015 is also higher than the total number of anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in 2014: 154.

If those numbers are correct, that is a 13% increase.

* Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner at the time of publication, escalated anti-Muslim vitriol in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France in November 2015 rather than urge calm or international unity. The attacks signify an international event that triggered a second surge in Islamophobic rhetoric in addition to the uptick in bias attacks.

* Trump made many anti-Muslim statements during televised appearances on mainstream news media outlets, impacting millions of viewers across the U.S. and around the world.

* As Mr. Trump called for shutting down mosques in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California in December 2015, anti-Muslim attacks initially tripled with nearly half of those attacks directed against mosques.

* Anti-Muslim attacks surged once more in December 2015. There were 53 total attacks that month, 17 of which targeted mosques and Islamic schools and 5 of which targeted Muslim homes. By comparison, when the presidential election season began just 9 months earlier, there were only 2 anti-Muslim attacks.

This is simply insane. Muslims carried out multiple coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015. On December 2, Muslims perpetrated the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. Shockingly, there was evidence of increased anti-Muslim sentiment in December–more than when the “presidential election season began.” Whose fault was that? Donald Trump’s!

I am certainly opposed to putting pig intestines on the door of a halal shop, calling a Muslim girl a terrorist, and so on. But how surprising is it that there are a handful of such incidents in a state with six million inhabitants? Given the many terrorist attacks that have been perpetrated in the name of Islam in Europe, the U.S., the Middle East and Africa, and given the ongoing disaster of pretty much every Islamic country–Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Somalia–isn’t the real story the fact that almost all Minnesotans, and Americans, are kind to their Muslim neighbors?

Here in Minnesota, dozens of young Muslims have left to join jihadists in Africa and Syria. Ten such men have recently been charged in the federal court here; Scott reported extensively on the trial of the three who did not plead guilty. (One was charged in absentia and is presumed dead.) At trial, there was evidence that the defendants speculated about opening a route through Mexico whereby jihadists could come to America and kill Americans. One of them also expressed a desire to shoot down airplanes landing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Many Muslims seem weirdly oblivious to the seriousness of such matters.

Somali Muslims have felt especially besieged, as three young Somali-Minnesota men were convicted earlier this month in the largest ISIL recruiting trial in the nation.

They feel besieged? As Scott found, there is broad support among Minnesota’s Somalis for the young men who wanted to fight with ISIS–perhaps majority support. If America’s Muslims want to improve their image with the rest of us, they should start at home.

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