Ninety-four percent or 132 out of the 140 incidents of hate violence documented in our database were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. Our database also reflects a concentration of hate violence aimed at our communities in the American South, a region that has also seen a concentration of the rapid growth in our communities in the last fifteen years. Thirty-one percent of the incidents of hate violence we tracked (43 out of 140) occurred in the South. The numbers of incidents in all other regions of the country are still troubling and the actual numbers of hate violence incidents against our community members have gone up overall in the past year. However, the greatest increase in the number of incidents we documented between our 2014 report and now occurred in the South. The distinct political, social, and legal context of the South, along with quickly changing demographics, have presented particular challenges to communities of color, and specifically to populations who are targets of hate violence and xenophobia.
The following examples from SAALT’s database are illustrative of the physical violence, psychological harm, and community-wide fear caused by hate violence in the American South. Please see the map at the end of this report for a complete geographic illustration of SAALT’s database.
November 26, 2015, Austin, Texas: A Muslim student who was walking from a mosque near the University of Texas campus was attacked and shoved to the ground, with the assailant yelling at him and accusing him of taking instructions from ISIS.
December 9, 2015, Washington, D.C.: A painting company stated “Death to Muslims” to Aaditya Shah after he cancelled the job because the company arrived late.
August 12, 2016, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Khalid Jabara was shot and killed by Stanley Vernon Majors, who had long terrorized the Jabara family, and had run over Khalid’s mother in prior months leaving her with several broken limbs. Khalid called the police 30 minutes prior to his death to say that he was scared because his neighbor had a gun and had a history of terrorizing the family, calling them “dirty Arabs” and “filthy Lebanese.” Khalid called his mother and told her not to come home because Majors had a gun and shortly afterward Majors shot Khalid to death while he was still on the phone with his mother.
September 12, 2016, Fort Pierce, Florida: The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, attended by Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was set on fire by an arsonist during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
October 8, 2016, Cary, North Carolina: A seven-year old Pakistani American boy was assaulted on a school bus by five other boys who made references to Islam, Muslims, and Pakistan during the attack.