Monday, September 13, 2010

Islamophobophobia Meets Reality: Shining some statistical light on the dark fantasy of Islamophobia

The majority of reported hate crimes in America are criminal acts motivated by anti-Black, anti-Jewish, and anti-Gay prejudices. Anyone familiar with current and historical patterns of discrimination and bigotry in the US will find no surprises there. Taken together, hate crimes against Blacks, Jews and Gays consistently make up over 60% of all hate-crimes. In contrast, criminal acts motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry make up between 1 and 2% all hate crimes.

The table below shows the hate-crime statistics for the years 2001-2008 (all data from the FBI Civil Rights division website):

YEAR - -
Blacks - -
Jews - -
Gays - -
Muslims - -
[Totals include other categories of hate-crimes not listed.]

There was a significant peak in anti-Muslim hate-crimes following 9/11, but even this peak was still only 46% the number of hate-crimes committed against Jews, 35% as many as those committed against Gays, and 17% of those committed against Blacks. By 2002 anti-Muslim hate-crimes were back down to the statistically marginal range of 1-2%.

Prior to 9/11 the annual number of reported anti-Muslim hate crimes was even lower than the stable 100-150 crimes per year since 2002. In 2000, for example, there were only 28, less that 0.3% of all reported hate crimes, and less than 2% of all religiously motivated hate crimes. It is possible that 9/11 led to a measurable, persistent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes, but the numbers still remained quite small compared to hate-crimes overall, and some of this increase is certainly due to greater attention paid to these crimes since 9/11.

It seems reasonable to anticipate a statistically significant increase in reported anti-Muslim hate crimes for the current year, and after this peak quickly subsides it is also possible that reported hate-crimes against Muslims will level off at a higher level than previously. But it also seems reasonable to anticipate that any peak will be significantly lower than that after the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, and that even if there is a stable increase, this will not be dramatic.

The Bottom Line is that there is clearly no basis for the dire predictions that the Ground Zero Mosque controversy has ushered in a dangerous new Islamophobical Amerikkka reminiscent of Nazi Germany with Muslims taking the place of the Jews.

The baseless, hysterical claims now being made about a non-existent wave of "Islamophobia" in America constitute a crude attempt to demonize the 70% of Americans who have serious doubts, to say the least, about (1) the Ground Zero Mosque, (2) links between Islam and terrorism, (3) the potential threat to basic rights and freedoms posed by the spread of Islam, etc.

Phobophobia, btw, is a recognized psychological malady. It is the irrational fear of phobias.