SAALT also highlights various instances of vitriolic speech by political leaders.
America’s image as a melting pot of many cultures has taken a beating in recent years, with the growth of anti-immigrant sentiments and hate violence. Late last month, Trailblazing Texan Sandeep Dhaliwal, the the first Sikh deputy in Harris County, was shot dead while on duty, leaving the community shaken. The deputy had been instrumental in getting the recognition his faith deserved by being the first officer to sport a beard and turban.
As his tragic death is being investigated, the South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT), a non-partisan organization for racial justice, has come up with a new report highlighting the growing xenophobia, Islamophobia and race-based violence in America.
The SAALT September Hate Report, once again, brought to fore many deplorable hate crimes that deserve more headlines, as well as serious action to contain such incidents.
In the month of September 2019 alone, SAALT tracked 11 incidents of race-based violence in various parts of the country. Out of these incidents, three involved hate violence, one was of racial profiling and seven were political rhetoric that were xenophobic, or Islamophobic in nature.
The racial crimes were not just verbal abuses. Two incidents also involved damage to property while one contained a written threat.
Among the incidents listed was an assault in a mosque in West Oak, PA. On September 3, a man walked up to the front door of a mosque in West Oak and pelted two stones. One of the stones damaged the front door of the mosque.
On September 10, a Muslim family received a dollar bill with a message, “No Muslim immigrants in America.” The Wisconsin family of Pakistani origin suspects that the bill came from one of the customers at the family’s gas station in Milwaukee. Another incident happened just a week later, in Colorado. In Grand Junction, a man vandalized the Two Rivers Mosque. The trespasser also damaged the planters in the mosque area.
Another incident involved American Airlines. It was reported that two Texas Muslim community leaders were profiled while on a flight to Alabama.
While these incidents could be blamed on certain individuals with a racist mindset, the report also highlights another more disturbing trend. The month of September also saw a continued Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric coming out of some of the elected officials. Some, perhaps not surprisingly, attributed to the President of the United States himself.
On September 18, President Donald Trump tweeted a picture falsely implicating that Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, partied on the anniversary of 9/11. The President commented on the post, “IIhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota. The new face of the Democrat Party!”
The report also stated: “The week of the September 11th anniversary, Colorado Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Ft. Collins) “liked” a Facebook post with an image of the burning twin towers and the following statement: ‘Every time a Moslem (sic) stands up in Congress and tells us they will change the Constitution, impeach our President, or vote for Socialism, remember you said you would never forget. They said they would destroy us from within.’ On the anniversary of 9/11, the Douglas County Colorado Republican Party shared the exact same Islamophobic post.”
Also mentioned in the post was another incident that happened in New Jersey. It stated: “On September 14, 2019, Raritan, [New Jersey] Deputy Louis Reiner resigned after posting a mushroom cloud and the declaration ‘SOME CANCERS MUST BE TREATED WITH RADIATION. ISLAM IS ONE OF THEM.”’
The report also mentions many other incidents that qualify as hate speech.
Since November 2016, 524 incidents of hate violence and 281 incidents of xenophobic political rhetoric have been logged by SAALT.