By Sheryl Estrada
Georgetown University. Credit: Shutterstock
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is standing his ground on his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
“We have to be careful,” Trump said Wednesday during an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We’re allowing thousands of people to come into our country that, frankly, nobody knows who they are They’re destroying Europe, I’m not going to let that happen to the United States. I don’t care if it hurts me [in the election] I’m doing the right thing.”
The Bridge Initiative, a Georgetown University research project, released a special report onMonday,“When Islamophobia Turns Violent: The 2016 Presidential Elections,”which found Trump’s rhetoric has contributed to an increase in violence toward Muslims in the U.S.
The study examines two overlapping time periods: January 2015 through December 2015 and March 2015 through March 2016 (the 2016 presidential election season).
Researchers found Islamophobic attacks have risen since the launch of the presidential campaign in March.
– Approximately 180 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence: 12 murders; 34 physical assaults; 49 verbal assaults or threats against persons and institutions; 56 acts of vandalism
– Destruction of property; nine arsons; and eight shootings or bombings, among other incidents
– American Muslim men have been twice as likely to be victims of physical assaults and about 11 times more likely to be the victims of murder than their female counterparts.
The FBI’s statistics for anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015 has not yet been released.
A staggering finding of the report is youth as young as 12 years old were among those responsible for acts and threats of anti-Muslim violence.
In December, at the annual dinner for the Civil Rights Group for Muslim Advocates, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch discussed anti-Muslim incidents in schools.
“We are seeing growing areas of concern, and for some time now specifically, involved children, and the issue of bullying in schools,” Lynch said. “We have partnered with the Department of Education to provide guidance to schools on how to handle situations where students come to them and feel they bullied.”
According to “When Islamophobia Turns Violent,” attacks on Muslims in December constituted approximately one-third of all attacks in 2015 and occurred almost daily often, multiple times a day. The report parallels the rise in violence to Trump’s statements.
In a December 7 statement, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
In the days immediately following his announcement, there were at least 19 documented violent acts across the country carried out against Muslims and perceived Muslims.
The report found that in December there were 53 total attacks, of which 17 targeted mosques and Islamic schools and five targeted Muslim homes.
Following the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November, Trump began speaking of warrantless searches of Muslims and possibly closing mosques, as well as an aggressive response to terrorism.
During an interview with NBC News, when asked if his White House would call for a database that tracks Muslims in the U.S., Trump said, “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.”
He commented there should be many systems “beyond databases” and that he’d get Muslims registered by using “good management.”
The special report states that Trump “escalated anti-Muslim vitriol” rather than “urge calm or international unity.”