The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 80/No. 47      December 19, 2016

(feature article)

Attacks on Muslims in US are highest since 2001

Taking advantage of Islamic State-inspired terror attacks in Paris; San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere in the past two years, the propertied rulers in the U.S. — and other imperialist countries — have whipped up a campaign to scapegoat and target Muslims and immigrants. Assaults against Muslims in the U.S. last year rose to the highest level since 2001.

According to the FBI, there were 257 reports submitted to police agencies documenting attacks on mosques and Muslims, a jump of about 67 percent over 2014. The harassment and attacks have continued this year.

Last month a 16-year-old Lakewood High School student in Cleveland wearing an Islamic skull cap was shot in the shoulder while walking home from work, the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported. The thug called him a “terrorist” as he pulled the trigger.

At the University of Washington in Seattle, 18-year-old Muslim student Nagro Hassan was hit in the face with a glass bottle as she walked across campus Nov. 15. A week earlier several Muslim students at the university’s Bothell campus were harassed by a group of men demanding they remove their hijabs, according to the Seattle Times.

On a subway train in New York Dec. 1 three men harassed 18-year-old Yasmin Seweid. They shouted “Trump, Trump!” and called her a ‘terrorist,’” the New York Post reported, as they tried to rip her hijab off her head.

Governments from the U.S. to France to Australia have ramped up cop and informer spying on political protests and institutionalized surveillance on social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google.

New software technology — with names like Geofeedia, SnapTrends, Dataminr and Digital Stakeout — enable cops to snoop on the political activities of millions of people. The International Association of Police Chiefs reports that at least 550 police agencies across 44 states use such tools to spy on email and social media. Cops in Boston recently announced plans to spend some $1.4 million on social media spy software.

The Oregon Department of Justice used such blanket spying to target demonstrations by Black Lives Matter groups. Cops in Baltimore used the technology to obtain photos identifying protesters at actions against the police killing of Freddie Gray last year.

The capitalist rulers have used their anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant campaign to make further inroads on political rights won in struggle by working people. The French government has maintained a state of emergency since the Islamic State-inspired murderous attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. The measure has been used to justify barring union rallies challenging attacks by the bosses and to restrict the right of others to public protest.

Similar attacks on political rights are orchestrated by the capitalist rulers in other imperialist centers. In the United Kingdom, a new Investigatory Powers surveillance law allows the government to create databases on individuals’ online activity. British intelligence services can legally hack into smartphones and computers. And internet providers and phone networks are required to store everyone’s browsing data for possible government use for up to a year. A petition on the British government’s website demanding repeal of the law has been signed by more than 130,000 people.

In Australia, Parliament passed the so-called High Risk Terrorist Offenders Bill Dec. 1, allowing indefinite imprisonment of individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges. Even after their sentences run out, they can be held in prison until they die if authorities claim they “have not been rehabilitated.”

Edwin Fruit in Seattle contributed to this article.
Related articles:
Gov’t frames up Somali youth in Minnesota  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home