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SPLC’s Intelligence Report: American Muslims Under Siege

Almost 14 years after the 9/11 terror attacks sparked a violent backlash against American Muslims, anti-Muslim hatred is again on the rise as activists and politicians exploit atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other jihadists, according to the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report.

Almost 14 years after the 9/11 terror attacks sparked a violent backlash against American Muslims, anti-Muslim hatred is again on the rise as activists and politicians exploit atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other jihadists, according to the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, released today.

“Living While Muslim” examines how this renewed violence against American Muslims took off in February, following the jihadist massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the beheadings of hostages in North Africa by the Islamic State, or ISIS. Violent attacks apparently motivated by anti-Muslim hatred have taken place in Texas, New York, North Carolina and elsewhere since then, and the jihadist attack on a Muhammad cartoon contest staged in Texas last month has only added fuel to the fire.

“It should be no surprise that Muslims in this country feel that they are under siege as politicians and ideologues exploit violence committed by radical Muslims to demonize the entire community,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of the Intelligence Report. “The threat of radical jihadists is unquestionably real, but the vast majority of American Muslims pose no threat to anyone – no matter what the propagandists say.”

The Summer 2015 issue also looks at a dozen of the leading activists at the core of the anti-Muslim radical right. They include Pamela Geller, the provocateur behind the cartoon contest attacked by two Muslim extremists who were killed by police as they attempted to storm the event. Geller is also believed to have been the initial target of a man possibly radicalized by ISIS and killed by police in Boston last week after brandishing a knife.

The 12 profiled activists do not merely criticize radical Islam, but routinely defame Muslims with utter falsehoods, attack President Obama as a Muslim agent, and fail to distinguish between radical Islamists and the vast majority of Muslims. They are bloggers, activists, radio show hosts, authors and TV personalities, and they are all women, which is representative of this uniquely female-dominated corner of the radical right.

“Most of these far-right activists had previously focused on issues ranging from gay rights to communism, but have increasingly focused their attacks on Muslims,” Potok said. “That has been even truer in recent months, in the wake of a slew of Islamist atrocities.”

Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report

  • “In the Crosshairs” examines how transgender people, especially trans women of color, are almost certainly the American minority most victimized by violent hate crime.
  • “Free Radicals” looks at how more than a year after Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and hundreds of armed militiamen forced the government to back down from an attempt to carry out a court order to seize his cattle, Bundy is still free, his cattle still graze on government land, and his followers are unscathed.
  • “Remembering Oklahoma” revisits the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing 20 years later. Intelligence Report editor Mark Potok, who covered the bombing as a reporter in 1995, draws some lessons for today from the deadly attack.