(RNN) - Hate crimes against Muslims increased 15 percent last year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In the group’s 2018 civil rights report, titled “Targeted,” the group writes in 2017 there was an “an increase in the onslaught of institutional and individual prejudice against American Muslims.”
They highlight President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies as a key factor in the rise of negative sentiment against Muslims in America.
“Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, both prior to and during the course of his presidency, emboldened those who sought to express their anti-Muslim bias and provided a veneer of legitimacy to bigotry in the public sphere,” the report says.
Among the group’s key findings were 300 hate crimes against Muslims in 2017, a 15 percent increase from 260 cases in 2016.
They also catalogued 2,599 “anti-Muslim bias incidents” nationwide last year, up from 2,213 the year before; a 17 percent increase.
The group broke the results down by state, with California (871) accounting for the most incidents by far. Texas (395) accounts for the second-most.
The most common form of discrimination was harassment, constituting 14 percent of cases, while hate crimes made up 12 percent.
Interactions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection were particularly troublesome, alone accounting for 13 percent of cases.
The most common location for an incident, accounting for a fifth of all episodes, was at a transportation terminal such as an airport or train station. The group attributed this to Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” an executive order banning travel from seven primarily Muslim countries, which was one of his first acts as president.
CAIR said it logs incidents through its own legal case work, divided among 30 staff attorneys in 25 states and done on a pro bono basis for cases with civil rights implications, and recording and verifying instances reported in the news media.
The report includes examples of a number of cases from last year, including a 61-year-old grandmother who was assaulted on a train in Massachusetts and a 14-year-old girl who had her headscarf ripped off and was called a terrorist at a mall in Georgia.
Since 2015, incidents of bias have increased 84 percent and hate crimes have risen 66 percent, according to the organization.
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