2018 has been a landmark year for MASA communities. Thurst into the spotlight during the vitriolic 2016 election cycle, and then targeted throughout 2017 with the Muslim and refugee bans and various local and state-level regressive policies, MASA communities have also been fighting back with information and data. In 2018, with the support of RTF, several of our grantees have published reports on the state of the MASA field and the country.
In April, ISPU published Equal Treatment? Measuring the Legal and Media Responses to Ideologically Motivated Violence in the United States. This report finds that “for similar plots, Muslim-perceived perpetrators received harsher legal charges and longer prison sentences than their non-Muslim counterparts. Perpetrators identified as Muslim also had qualitatively different media coverage than perpetrators not identified as Muslim.” Specific findings include that prosecutors in cases where the perpetrator was Muslim sought sentences that were three times the length as those for non-Muslim perpetrators. Sentencing was similarly biased – for similar crimes, Muslim perpetratros’ sentences were on average four times as long as non-Muslim perpetrators. In looking at these disparities, ISPU argues that “confronting violence across ideologies is, and should be, a critical aspect of U.S. national security and law enforcement. However, the public narrative around groups most responsible for such violence is often at odds with reality.”
In July, ISPU published An Impact Report of Muslim Contributions to New York City, which explores how Muslims in New York City contribute to eight key areas: medicine; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); civics and democracy; philanthropy and nonprofit; education; economics; arts and entertainment; and sports. Key highlights include that 9 percent of NYC’s medical doctors are Muslim; 11.3 of NYC engineers are Muslim, and that Muslim K-12 teachers in NYC educate nearly 250,000 students each year. As the report notes, “taken together, the Muslims for American Progress data demonstrate that Muslims make substantial contributions to New York City’s well-being across all eight key areas. These findings contrast starkly with many depictions of Muslims in America in mainstream media.” Several of SRC’s NYC-based grantees are also featured in the report. Overall, Muslims make up roughly 9 percent of New York City’s population, and around 22 percent of all American Muslims reside in New York. These key findings help illustrate how Muslim NYC residents are key contributors to NYC’s economic, social, and political health.
In July, AAI published Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans: 1991-2016. Underreported chronicles anti-Arab American hate crimes and discusses how reporting and response mechanisms at the state and federal level have been insufficient to address these issues. The report also gives a state-by-state assessment of existing infrastructure to report and address hate crimes. The report finds that state level hate crime data show that nearly twice as many anti-Arab hate crime incidents occurred in 2015 and 2016 than are reported in official federal statistics, resulting in almost 2,000 hate crimes not published in federal statistics.
In 2018, SAALT released Communities on Fire: Confronting Hate Violence and Xenophobic Political Rhetoric, which chronicles “political rhetoric and policies steeped in racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia” targeted at MASA communities between the 2016 and 2017 elections. SAALT’s report notes a dramatic increase in hate incidents against MASA communities between election day 2016 and election day 2017, including physical assaults, verbal/written assault, and property damage. Interestingly, in 20 percent of these incidents, President Trump, a Trump administration policy, or a Trump campaign slogan was referenced by hate crime perpetrators. According to the data, gender, racial/ethnic, and religious bias all play a role in these incidents.