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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Article Cites to Hate Crimes Statistics

In discussing the rising threat of domestic terrorism, an article by the Inter Press Service quotes the following statistics:

The FBI, which is responsible for investigating hate crimes, reports that nearly 7,500 incidents were classified as hate crimes in the United States in 2003, the last year for which complete data is available.

The non-governmental Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), however, said that FBI and DOJ data are based on reports voluntarily submitted by local law enforcement authorities, who do not always track or report hate crime statistics. SPLC estimates that there are probably 50,000 more hate crimes than the FBI has tallied.

More than half the crimes were motivated by racial prejudice. Reported hate crimes included 14 murders but intimidation and vandalism were the most frequently cited problems. Six of the murders were among more than 1,200 incidents of hate based on sexual orientation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it received reports of 1,019 anti-Muslim incidents during 2003, a nearly 70 percent increase from the previous year and the highest number of civil-rights complaints from those of the Islamic faith in the nine years the group has been tracking them.

CAIR, in a report, said hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims, Sikhs, and South Asian Americans perceived to be Muslims jumped 121 percent that same year.

It is impressive that the article examines both domestic terrorism and a consequence of increased fear of domestic terrorism: greater suspicion of and discrimination against those perceived to be terrorists. Generally an article, especially a relatively short one appearing on a news organization's web site, may address only one aspect, but not both.

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