Unless you’ve been asleep for the past 10 years (or write book reviews for the Wall Street Journal), you may have noticed that anti-Muslim sentiment in the past decade has recently spilled out into some of this country’s nastiest displays of hate.
In August, a Sikh temple was shot up in Oak Creek, Wis.; the gunman couldn’t distinguish between Sikhs and Muslims, and so, frightened just the same by the presence of brown-skinned Americans with foreign names and beards, killed seven people.
That same month, as Muslims prayed inside a mosque in Hayward, Calif., four teens drove by the house of worship, hurling lemons and firing shots from a BB gun. In Panama City, Fla., a Mason jar filled with gasoline was thrown at the home of a Muslim family.
Two months later, in Ohio, Randolph Linn, a white, middle-aged Muslim hater, upped the ante on the lemon and Mason jar throwers, entering a Toledo mosque, pouring gasoline on the prayer area, and torching the building. Later, he said that all he knew about Muslims came from Fox News (surprise, surprise!).
More recently, commuters on buses and metros in some of the nation’s major metropolitan cities have comes across advertisements by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an anti-Muslim hate group. The ad campaigns equate Muslims with “savages” and cherry-pick violent verses from the Quran, plopping them alongside some predictable gory imagery of 9/11.
No wonder, then, in late December, Sunando Sen, a Hindu man living in New York, was pushed onto the tracks on of oncoming subway train and killed by a woman who later admitted that she hated Muslims and Hindus.
The FBI has reported that hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, which include vandalism, intimidation, assault, rape and murder, have continually risen in the past few years.
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