With a reported 63 attacks on mosques in the U.S., 2015 been a deadly year for American Muslims. As tensions increase, the number of attacks against individuals and places of worship continue to increase. The following is a small sample of attacks against Muslims, and those perceived as Muslims, during just the second week of December:
On Dec. 7, 2015, the Islamic Center of Palm Beach was vandalized by a 27-year-old man who was later caught after he confided in a friend that he was the perpetrator. That same day, a man who identified himself as a “former Marine” in St. Louis, called the Council on American-Islamic Relations and threatened to sever the heads off of any Muslim who came to his home. In Pennsylvania, someone threw a pig’s head at the front door of the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society in Philadelphia.
The following day, there were four more incidents. In Jersey City, a mosque received an anonymous threatening letter calling members “evil” and mentioning Donald Trump’s claim that Muslims celebrated the attacks on 9/11. Just miles away in Queens, New York, the owner of a food mart was assaulted. It was alleged that the attacker yelled “I Kill Muslims.” The attacker, a 55-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime. In North Dakota, a 25-year-old man was charged with a felony after he set fire to a Somali-owner restaurant with a Molotov cocktail. The attacker faces 10 years in prison.
On Dec. 9, several instances on the West Coast were reported. A Sikh temple in San Bernardino was vandalized. A ride-share driver was assaulted by a man in Seattle, WA. The attacker accused the man of being a terrorist. The attacker has been charged with a hate crime. That same day in Seattle, a 16-year-old Somali teen was beaten and thrown from a six-story window. On Dec. 10, a hate crimes investigation was opened against an employee of the California Department of Corrections after a video captured the woman attacking two Muslim men who were praying in a public park.
In Santa Clara, Ca. police had to evacuate the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ local office after a white powder was sent along with a threatening letter. The following day, the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, Az. had its windows smashed in the center was ransacked. In Coachella California, a mosque was firebombed while people were inside, but luckily, no one was injured.
As news stations continue to report these heinous crimes, American Muslims are fearing for their safety. This spike in violence against muslims follows in the wake of the Paris, and San Bernadino attacks, and can largely be attributed to sensationalist media painting all muslims as terrorists. Not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Christian are good people – the attack by Robert Dear on the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs was a Christian terrorist attack in America. Terrorists aren’t fighting for one religion or another, as they so often they often claim, they fight for chaos and fear and hate.