Thirteen years after the tragic events of 9/11, South Asians in particular Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and the Arab communities face an increasingly hostile climate in the United States, according to a report.
The South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) in its report ‘Under Suspicion, Under Attack’ documents over 150 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic rhetoric by political figures and government officials that occurred nationwide from January 2011 through April 2014.
It found a 40 per cent annual increase in xenophobic political comments since SAALT’s last analysis issued in 2010.
While numerous hate violence incidents frequently go unreported, it tracked nearly 80 incidents in communities nationwide, with an overwhelming share animated by anti-Muslim sentiment.
Hate violence ‘hot spots’ included the New York City/New Jersey metropolitan area; Chicago and its outlying suburbs; and Southern and Northern California, the report said.
The report was released at a briefing on Capitol Hill. “Thirteen years after the tragic events of 9/11, we saw consistently high numbers of hate violence incidents and a surge in xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities, portraying them as un-American, unwelcome, and disloyal. Disturbingly, over 80 per cent of documented hate violence incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment,” said Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT.
“Our communities have endured a sustained and even escalating backlash after 9/11, crystallized by hate violence. I myself was the victim of a hate violence attack just last week near my office in Brooklyn, NY. Enough is enough. That’s why we started the Take on Hate Campaign,” said Linda Sarsour, Senior Strategist for the Take on Hate Campaign and Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York.
“This report not only highlights the problems facing our communities, it points to ‘better practices’ as models for coalition-building and organizing,” said Fahd Ahmed, the acting director of DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center. “For example, New York City groups united across lines of race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion to pass the Community Safety Act in 2013. We now have a framework to hold the NYPD accountable for their discriminatory practices, which sow distrust of law enforcement and enshrine profiling. We can do better, and we must,” Ahmed said.