Hate crimes against perceived Muslims, which jumped up 50% in 2010 largely as a result of anti-Muslim propagandizing, remained at relatively high levels last year, according to 2011 hate crime statistics released today by the FBI.
The bureau reported that there were 157 reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2011, down slightly from the 160 recorded in 2010. The 2011 crimes occurred during a period when Islam-bashing propaganda, which initially took off in 2010, continued apace.
The FBI statistics, which are compilations of state numbers, are notoriously understated. Two Department of Justice studies have indicated that the real level of hate crimes in America is some 20-30 times the number reported in the FBI statistics, in part because some 56% of hate crimes are never reported to police and more than half of those that are are mischaracterized as non-hate crimes. Nevertheless, the FBI statistics can be used to get a sense of general trends.
Last year saw continued high levels of anti-Muslim propaganda such as the crusade by some against the alleged Muslim plan to impose religious Shariah law on the United States. There were a number of local battles over the construction of new mosques, and several were attacked by apparent Islamophobes.
At the same time, the FBI statistics suggested that there was a 31% drop in anti-Latino hate crimes, from 534 in 2010 to 405 last year. It’s not clear what might be behind that drop, other than an apparent diminution in anti-Latino and anti-immigrant propaganda as negative attention focused on Muslims.
Other hate crime categories remained relatively steady. Anti-Jewish hate crimes fell from 887 in 2010 to 771 last year, while anti-LGBT hate crimes rose slightly, from 1,256 to 1,277. Anti-black hate crimes also fell slightly, continuing a trend of dropping from a high of 2,876 in 2008 (when Barack Obama appeared on the national political scene, fueling anti-black hatred in some quarters) to 2,076 last year.