OC Hate Crime Report 2011
By Anila Ali
OC Human Relations Commission recently published their annual report on hate crimes in 2010.
A hate crime is a criminal act committed in whole or part because of the victim’s disability, gender, race or ethnicity, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.
A hate incident is a bias-related action that has the same motivation as a hate crime but is not an illegal act. These incidents are protected under the First Amendment free speech right. Our US constitution allows for hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with this rights of others.
In 2010, there were 46 hate incidents reported, 31 of those targeted Muslims/Middle Easterners, mostly college students. Much of this lashing out was spurred by the organized protest that disrupted the Israeli Ambassador’s speech in Irvine.
Some important findings are:
v Hate crime is down for the fourth year in a row.
v While hate crime was down for all groups, sadly it was up against African Americans - there was 13% increase in hate crimes against this group.
v While hate crime fell, hate incidents against Muslims students rose.
v There were 56 hate crimes reported in Orange County in 2009-2010.
v 54% of all hate crimes were motivated by race or ethnicity.
On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, American Muslims must reflect introspectively. It is a time for all Muslims to reflect on the past ten years. Though not a religious tradition but a cultural, which is not mandatory in Islam, France has brazenly banned the right of a woman to wear a veil. Since the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported seeing an increase in allegations of summary execution, imprisonment and torture of ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China. The Chinese government has stepped up plans to boost economic development in Xinjiang to curb ethnic violence. Many Muslim countries like Pakistan, Bahrain aren’t able to completely protect their minorities or even afford equal rights to them. American Muslims are truly fortunate to have the protection of their civil liberties even after the monstrous crime of 9/11, which was perpetrated by so-called Muslims. The law enforcement agencies, like LAPD, our government, the Department of Justice and the White House are all engaged in outreaching to Muslims in an effort to build relationships and close gaps in understanding and bring the Muslim community into mainstream America. Recently, the Department of Justice indicted a man in connection with mosque arson in Oregon last November. It is only in America that Muslims can truly enjoy the freedom to build mosques, wear hijaab or a skull cap, or even a veil, speak freely as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. It is only in America that Muslims are truly free!
Let’s learn to respect these freedoms and luxuries and encourage tolerance and discussion in our conversations. Let’s give back to this great country that we have adopted as our home, by following the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. He believed in forgiveness rather than revenge; he upheld his pledges and contracts, for example, the Treaty of Hudaibiya, and taught that Islam must be made easy for people to follow and all human beings, irrespective of their faith, must be respected. Let’s pledge to be better human beings, better Muslims, and better Americans.