Today, the FBI released its annual report on hate crimes for the previous calendar year. As has been the case since the bureau began collecting these figures in 1992, Jews were again found to be the chief target of religiously motivated hate crimes. Despite constituting just two percent of the American population, Jews were subject to 54.4 percent of such attacks.
At the same time, as the Anti-Defamation League noted, “the greatest increase in religious-based crimes was those against Muslims; they increased 19 percent from 2015 to 2016.” In total, Muslims were the victims of 24.5 percent of religiously-motivated crimes, the next highest total after Jews, though this figure does not take into account the 1.3 percent of anti-Arab crimes which may also have been Islamophobic in nature.
As can be seen in the chart below, the above two trends—the depressingly consistent targeting of Jews above all and the spike in anti-Muslim hate—have been constant for decades:
Moreover, it’s important to note, as the ADL did in its statement, that hate crimes overall remain severely underreported: “Nearly 90 cities with more than 100,000 residents either affirmatively reported zero (0) hate crimes or ignored the FBI request for their 2016 hate crime data.”
And yet, many Muslims are often told that Islamophobia is a “myth,” while many Jews are informed that they are simply “privileged whites” who no longer face oppression. The numbers, as they have for some time, suggest that the reality for both communities is a bit more fraught than such simplifications allow.