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Friday, August 27, 2010

The myth of "Islamophobia" in America

Time magazine's cover story last week asks a simple question:

Jonah Goldberg, writing in the Los Angeles Times, shows that the number of anti-Islamic bias incidents in the US peaked in 2001 for obvious reasons, and then plummeted in 2002, and has never gone back up.

I went to the FBI hate crime page and pulled out the anti-religious hate crimes statistics for the years 2004-2008, the most recent ones published. It shows that anti-Islamic hate crimes were trending down:

The number of incidents, combined over fifty states, does not seem to be too alarming. One could spin a story about the massive increase in anti-atheist hate crimes, as they soared from 6 to 14 in 2008, an increase of 133%!

I purposefully kept a dataset out of this graph. Because when you add anti-Jewish hate crimes in America, they would be off the chart:

Can you imagine Time magazine having a cover story on the relatively large number, and increase, of anti-semitic crimes in America (at the very same time that anti-Islamic crimes were going down)?

Of course not. As Goldberg points out,
Why aren't we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America?

Because there isn't one. And there isn't an anti-Muslim climate either. Yes, there's a lot of heated rhetoric on the Internet. Absolutely, some Americans don't like Muslims. But if you watch TV or movies or read, say, the op-ed page of the New York Times — never mind left-wing blogs — you'll hear much more open bigotry toward evangelical Christians (in blogspeak, the "Taliban wing of the Republican Party") than you will toward Muslims.
In other words, Time's cover story is not trying to uncover a truth but rather it is trying to obscure one. "Islamophobia" is a gross exaggeration that has been peddled by Muslim political leaders with an agenda.

In New York State, the very spot where Islamic terrorists murdered nearly 3000 people, the number of anti-Islamic crimes were a mere six in 2008. The number of anti-semitic crimes? 129.

In liberal, tolerant California, also in 2008, there were 11 hate crimes against Muslims - less than once a month. Anti-semitic crimes? 294.


Let's look at all hate crimes in America, not just those against religion. Here are the FBI's 2008 statistics, sorted by number of incidents:

Type
Amount
Anti-Black
2,876
Anti-Jewish
1,013
Anti-Male Homosexual
776
Anti-White
716
Anti-Hispanic
561
Anti-Other Ethnicity/National Origin
333
Anti-Homosexual
307
Anti-Multiple Races, Group
209
Anti-Other Religion
191
Anti-Female Homosexual
154
Anti-Asian/Pacific Islander
137
Anti-Islamic
105
Anti-Catholic
75
Anti-Multiple Religions, Group
65
Anti-Protestant
56
Anti-Mental
56
Anti-American Indian/Alaskan Native
54
Anti-Heterosexual
33
Anti-Bisexual
27
Anti-Physical
22
Anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.
14







The answer to Time's titular question is a resounding "no."

In context, so-called "Islamophobia" is virtually non-existent, only 1.3% of all hate crimes, which are in themselves only a minute percentage of all crimes in America.

All hate crimes need to be taken seriously, but to exaggerate one set is to minimize the many hate crimes that far outstrip anti-Islamic crimes.