Posted on July 19, 2018 in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 19, 2018

CONTACT: Omar Baddar

obaddar@aaiusa.org | (202) 429-9210

Research Reveals FBI Reports Failed to Record Nearly 2,000 Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the Arab American Institute released a comprehensive hate crime report titled: Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans.

This report is the first to examine targeted violence against Arab Americans in nearly a decade, and the first ever to utilize hate crime data reported through official government channels.

Our research found that state level hate crime data show that nearly twice as many anti-Arab hate crime incidents occurred in 2015 and 2016 than are reported in official federal statistics. For example, in Michigan, where only a single hate crime incident was reported in the FBI’s annual report, Michigan’s own state level report indicates that 14 anti-Arab hate incidents occurred that year.

Underreported, Under Threat reveals similar discrepancies in reporting in other states with large Arab American populations, and major discrepancies between state and federal statistics of hate crimes more broadly. Overall, the report provides state and federal data comparisons for the last five years, revealing nearly 2,000 hate crimes that were reported at the state level but not published in federal statistics.

These findings come at time when the current political climate has contributed to burgeoning xenophobia and nationwide anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment, which substantially raised the threat of hate crime against Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) communities in the United States. The recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the Muslim ban, and the continued animus from the administration toward immigrants, has put the Arab American community under increased threat of hate violence. Indeed, recent studies have linked President Trump’s tweets to increased anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate crime.

Of the heightened threat to the Arab American community, Maya Berry, AAI’s Executive Director, comments:

The Arab American community hasn’t faced this level of targeted violence since the months following 9/11, and the discrepancies found in our report show that the number of hate crime and bias incidents against Arab Americans and American Muslims is even higher than we previously thought.

With, Underreported, Under Threat we’re making sure that our community and advocates have the tools they need to push for systemic change in the way hate crime is reported and the statutes that protect those most vulnerable. We hope for this report to be a tool for our allies in pushing back against the rise in hate crime and bias motivated incidents that we’ve seen over the last few years. Together, as a country, we need to make clear that hate will not be tolerated in America.”

This research demonstrates that bias-motivated violence is a local, state, and national issue that affects every community in the country. Crucially, the report reveals the failure of the system to effectively respond to hate crime. To address this failure, AAI created a rating system developed to rank, compare, and assess each state’s overall response to hate crime.

Adds Berry, “We developed this rating system to get individual policy makers to focus on concrete steps their states can take to improve hate crime data collection, reporting and enforcement. Even in states that receive the highest possible rating, the resource guide identifies target areas for improvement and provides state-based recommendations, empowering readers to advocate for a better response to hate in their communities.”

Underreported, Under Threat includes:

  • Historical context for the nature and extent of targeted violence against the Arab American and American Muslim communities, including the FBI's elimination of anti-Arab hate crime from official data collections in 1992;
  • 4 Case studies in hate crime targeting Arab Americans, that show first-hand the impact of targeted hate;
  • A clearinghouse of hate crime-related information pertaining to every state and the District of Columbia, including a rating system to rank and compare states,
  • Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate crime statistics for every state since 1991, and
  • State-specific recommendations for improving hate crime reporting and response for use by advocates.

To download the report click here.

For more information please contact Omar Baddar at obaddar@aaiusa.org or 202-429-9210.

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit aaiusa.org.