The number of anti-Islam bias incidents in the United States saw a dramatic rise last year, according to a Muslim advocacy group.
A report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Tuesday found 2,213 such incidents in 2016, a 57 percent increase from 2015. Incidents increased 5 percent from 2014 to 2015.
“The report simply punctuates what we already knew: that prejudice in America has seen a resurgence in the last couple of years,” said Corey Saylor, director of the Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia at CAIR and the primary author of the report.
While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents before Donald Trump’s rise in last year’s presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on armed groups such as ISIL.
CAIR’s accounting includes a wide variety of bias incidents, from assaults and street harassment, to employment discrimination, to what the group considers inappropriate targeting or questioning by the FBI.
One case study mentioned was an incident in California, in which hundreds of letters inciting mass violence were left on the windshields of cars parked in Midtown, Sacramento, with a message to “kidnap, rob, torture for information, and execute all Muslims and Latinos. Leave no survivors.”
The report details a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes to 260 in 2016, up 44 percent from 180 a year earlier.
That includes all crimes recorded where CAIR saw evidence of anti-Muslim bias, not just those where hate crime charges were brought, Saylor said.
Examples mentioned in the report include a case from Kansas, where federal authorities charged three militia members for conspiring to bomb a mosque.
In Texas, a Muslim-owned restaurant was vandalised with bacon twice in one week.
Incidents directed at mosques in 2016 include arson at the The Islamic Centre of Fort Pierce in Florida, in which the mosque was severely damaged.
In Oklahama, a pig carcass was dropped off in the parking lot of the the Islamic Centre of Lawton.
On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to create a register and special ID cards for Muslims, and he made statements such as “Islam hates us”.
After taking office, he attempted to ban immigrants and refugees from seven, then, after a revision, six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The measure was blocked by federal judges but the Trump administration is arguing in ongoing court proceedings that the ban was necessary for national security.
CAIR said other candidates for the US presidency also contributed to an anti-Muslim narrative.
For example, Ben Carson, now housing secretary, said Islam is not consistent with the US constitution, and that Muslims could embrace American democracy “only if they’re schizophrenic”.