The number of hate crimes committed in the US has risen for the second year in succession, said the Southern Poverty Law Center, which works to combat domestic racism and extremism, in a report issued Wednesday.
The Center made a direct connection between the “radical right” and Donald Trump, saying his election as president had “energized” such groups.
The annual census found that the rise in extremism posed the greatest threat to the Muslim community, saying that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups almost tripled from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016. This growth, the Center said, was “accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims.”
The report cited the arson attack at a mosque in Texas on January 28, pointing out that it took place hours after Trump unveiled his executive order halting travel from seven mainly Muslim countries and a freeze on the entry of Syrian refugees.
Furthermore, the report said, the SPLC recorded 867 “bias-related” incidents in the first days since Trump was elected, of which over 300 were directed at Muslims or immigrants.
The Center also referred to data from the FBI showing that anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by 67 percent in 2016, highlighting that it was the year in which Trump embarked on his election campaign, which frequently made reference to his plan to ban Muslims from entering the country.
The editor of the SPLC publication Intelligence Report, which published the census findings, called 2016 “an unprecedented year for hate.”
“The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists,” said Mark Potok.
He singled out key Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, the former editor of the far-right website Breitbart, as evidence that the president’s election had emboldened extremists.
“In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear,” he said.