According to newly released FBI statistics for 2010, anti-Islamic hate crimes in the U.S. rose by almost 50% last year (160 incidents, 186 offenses, and 197 victims in 2010, compared to 107 incidents, 128 offenses, and 132 victims in 2009). Those who push the "Islamophobia" narrative to muzzle critics of Islamism are touting the report as proof that Muslims face unique perils at the hands of American bigots. Yet proper context, found primarily in this table, reveals that criminal acts of hate against Muslims fall far short of an epidemic:
Incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime in 2010 accounted for only 12.1% of those motivated by religion and just 2.4% overall.
Jews remain the faith group most likely to be targeted in hate crimes. There were 887 anti-Jewish incidents in 2010, comprising 67.1% of those linked to religion. This is 5.5 times the number of anti-Islamic incidents, despite the fact that the Jewish population is no more than two and a half times as large as the Muslim population in the U.S.
Last year saw more anti-black (2,201), anti-white (575), anti-Hispanic (534), and anti-homosexual (1,230) incidents than anti-Islamic ones. Based on population data, the per-capita rate for blacks was similar to that for Muslims; the rate for gays was higher.
Once again, no Muslim was killed for being Muslim. Fifteen years (1996-2010) of online FBI reports tabulate 149 deaths ("murder and nonnegligent manslaughter") due to hate crimes, but the records show zero anti-Islamic fatalities during this period.
Hate crimes against Muslims in 2010 returned to the 2002-2006 level. Such incidents totaled between 149 and 156 in four of those five years, so the 2010 figure of 160 is hardly inconsistent with values often witnessed in the decade since 9/11.
Aptly critiquing the responses to different faith-based hate crimes, Jonathan S. Tobin asks:
Because the far greater number of attacks on Jews is not viewed (even by those groups dedicated to monitoring anti-Semitism such as the Anti-Defamation League) as proof the country is boiling with hatred for Jews, how can anyone rationally argue that the far fewer number of assaults on Muslims can justify the conclusion that Islamophobia is rampant?
For Islamists, though, rationality comes second to their agenda. "CAIR and other groups like it want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them for political points and as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat," notes Robert Spencer.
Even one case of violence or vandalism driven by the victim's faith is too many, so the growth of anti-Islamic crimes should not be dismissed as meaningless. However, only Islamists benefit from exaggerating the true scale of the problem. Let us counter their propaganda with facts.