Islamophobes have long mocked the idea that Islamophobia exists, that Muslims are targets of hate crimes. And if you were to look at the statistics, you could see why.
According to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics for 2013, hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,163 offenses reported by law enforcement. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed:
- 59.2 percent were anti-Jewish.
- 14.2 percent were anti-Islamic (Muslim).
- 6.4 percent were anti-Catholic.
- 4.4 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.
- 3.6 percent were anti-Protestant.
- 0.6 percent (7 offenses) were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.
- 11.6 percent were anti-other (unspecified) religion
“Hate crimes against a religion is less than 20% of the reported hate crimes according to the FBI so it is not something that is regularly prosecuted,” said Omer Jaleel, a former prosecutor and Assistant State's Attorney in Cook County, IL, who is now in private practice. “Most times the crime is prosecuted without the hate crime element i.e prosecuting someone for battery but not a hate crime.”
No matter how much anecdotal evidence can be found of all kinds of violence and intolerance directed at Muslims, anti-Semitism is, statistically, the most common form of religious intolerance in America today. We see this discrepancy because Muslims do not report hate crimes to police and other agencies. Jewish Americans, on the other hand, understand the importance of doing this, and they do.
Hate is hate whether it is aimed at Muslims or Jews. Comparing a victim to another victim is sickening at best. Only Islamophobes use statistics for their sadistic pleasure.
Unless you report a hate crime or the threat of it, your story will not be told, researchers will not be able to look into it, and the government will not be willing to devote resources to fight it. Statistics are critical in developing a policy. It is harder for advocacy if the numbers are not accurate.
Each time you face hate, you must report it. Every incident must be reported to at least four places. But first, get your facts right. Then, follow this step-by-step guide.
1. Prepare Before You File
Write down any and all of the details of the hate incident or crime as soon as possible after the incident whether you are a victim or a witness. Include the perpetrator’s gender, age, height, race, weight, clothing, and other distinguishing characteristics, as well as license plate number if they were in a vehicle. If any threats or biased comments were made (such as anti-Muslim epithets), include them in the report.
Use technology to your advantage. Most cell phones have cameras, and you can even video record what you see. Also, audio recording can be done while your smart phone is in your pocket.
Write down the contact information of any witnesses who might be willing to help you.
2. File a police report
Get the responding officer’s name and badge number.
Make sure the officer files an incident report form and assigns a case number. If a police report is not taken at the time of your report, go to the police station and ask for one.
Always get your own copy, even of the preliminary report.
If you believe the incident was bias-motivated, urge the officer to check the “hate/bias-motivation” or “hate crime/incident” box on the police report.
3. File a report with the FBI
4. Inform your representative
Tell them your story. Also see if your city or state has a human rights commission. While reporting to them, refer to your police report if possible.
5. File a report with CAIR
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is American Muslims’ main civil rights organization. They also keep track of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. Make sure to file an online report with them.
6. File a report with the ADC
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) compiles information about hate crimes against Arab-Americans. Because “Muslim” and “Arab” are often considered interchangeable in American culture, Muslims are attacked on the basis of looking Arab and vice-versa. As well, the idea that Islam is an “Arab religion” is still well-entrenched in the United States, which is why hate crimes directed at Muslims often include references to Arabs (e.g. calling Muslims “camel jockeys” and “sand n***ers”).
Please note that the local police and the FBI are government agencies which have their own reporting system. But they are hate crime’s first responders.
The last two bodies are community organizations. Reporting to all four of them is going to be very helpful in fighting Islamophobia.
You may also want to read the following Justice Department guidelines about filing a hate crime or civil rights complaint.
How to File a Complaint with Other Federal Offices
The following links will lead you to information about how to file a complaint with other federal offices that enforce laws prohibiting discrimination. If you think that you or someone you know has been the victim of discrimination or a hate crime, please follow these links for information on filing a complaint.
If you believe you have been discriminated against by an agency that receives funding from the Department of Justice, you can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, Office of Justice Programs.
DOT may be able to help you with discrimination in airports or on airplanes.
For example: a passenger of Pakistani national origin who was traveling on a commercial airline claims that he was asked to leave the airplane by airline officials at a U.S. airport.
He believes that he was singled out because he looks Middle Eastern.
OCR may be able to help you with discrimination in education.
The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties handles complaints concerning abuses of civil rights, civil liberties, and profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion by employees and officials of the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commission (CBP), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are all part of DHS. The DHS
Office of Civil Rights can assist in complaints involving all of these agencies.
The EEOC may be able to help you with complaints about discrimination in employment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates reports of hate crimes and deprivations of constitutional rights (such as unwarranted assaults, illegal arrests and searches) by local and federal law enforcement officers. If you think that you or someone you know has been the victim of such a crime, you may contact the local FBI office.
This link contains information about where to file a complaint (including civil rights complaints) about the conduct of a Department of Justice employee. This includes employees and officers of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and employees who work in other Department of Justice offices.
HUD may be able to help you with complaints about discrimination in housing.
HHS may be able to help you with complaints about discrimination in health care and other facilities that receive funding from HHS.
The Community Relations Service can provide expert guidance and assistance to community officials and civic leaders concerned about incidents or other hate activities. CRS Regional Offices will provide mediators free of charge to help communities respond effectively to reported incidents, tensions, and conflicts. Please contact the nearest CRS Office for assistance.
Your local United States Attorneys Office may be able to help you with a complaint of discrimination.
Complaints alleging discrimination by Treasury Department employees can be filed with the Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG). Complaints alleging discrimination by any other Treasury Department employees can also be filed with the OIG.
Office of Internal Affairs
U.S. Customs Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
P.O. Box 14475
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20044
1-877-422-2557 (24 hours/day)
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Treasury
740 15th St NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20220
http://www.treas.gov/oig/ (click on "Hotline" for contact information).
Complaints alleging discrimination in disaster assistance may be filed with the FEMA Office of Equal Rights.