Apparently, if one calls an Arab-American an A** H*le, Reuters and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee want all Americans to know that this is to be considered a "violent hate crime." At least that is what it seems when looking over the very lose and sloppy definition of "violent hate crimes" in a recent story on the falling numbers of such crimes against Arab-Americans in the U.S.
While ostensibly a good story -- discrimination against Arab-Americans has decreased -- it is still odd that Reuters allows this Muslim advocacy group to define even name calling as a "hate crime" and "violent" at that. So many levels of behavior are categorized under the rubric "hate crime" here that it really makes a mockery of the term, if one is even disposed to accept such a term in the first place.
Reuters starts off saying that so-called "hate crimes" against Arab-Americans have "decreased steadily since the Sept. 11, 2001," yet it goes on to claim that attacks "are still more common than they were before the hijacking." It's as if these crimes are rampant here, or something. As to the presented stats, Reuters reports the following:
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said it received an average of 120 to 130 reports of ethnically motivated attacks or threats each year between 2003 and 2007, a sharp decrease from the 700 violent incidents it documented in the weeks following the 2001 attacks.
Notice how these numbers all seem to be considered "violent incidents"? This is all well and good in a stand alone claim, but proves to be less interesting when viewed against a fuller range of statistics. Regardless of any fuller review of statistics, though, Reuters simply takes this Muslim advocacy group's word for how a "hate crime" should be defined and goes on as if all these are significant findings.
Incidents tended to increase after other terrorist attacks, such as the 2005 London subway bombings, the group said. Many incidents did not begin with a clear motivation of bias, but assailants would use racial or ethnic slurs as the situation intensified, the group said.
Incidents range from harassment and vandalism by neighbors to death threats from co-workers. One Arab American man in Alabama was shot by a customer who had been yelling racial slurs at a Middle Eastern restaurant in 2006, the group said.
So, using an "ethnic slur," even if the incident "did not begin with a clear motivation" is a hate crime? That seems quite over broad doesn't it? Sure it isn't civil to hurl an epithet at someone, but is it really so egregious that it can be legitimately considered a hate crime?
While this Reuters report talks of anti-Muslim hate crimes, it is instructive to see how these so-called crimes stack up against other religious discrimination in the USA. According to the FBI report on hate crimes from 2007, for instance, anti-Islamic hate crimes are few in number, when all is said and done. Especially when stacked up against such crimes against Jews.
68.4 percent were anti-Jewish. (up from 64.3 percent in 2006) 9.5 percent were anti-other religion. 9.0 percent were anti-Islamic. (down from 12 percent from 2006) 4.4 percent were anti-Catholic. 4.3 percent were anti-multiple religions, group. 4.0 percent were anti-Protestant. 0.4 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.
Even more interesting is the fact that religious bias only accounts for 16.4 percent of all reported hate crimes in the US, regardless of imputes, for 2007.
But Reuters continues to follow this group's claims as statements of important fact even allowing that there were only 80 or 90 reports of such "hate crimes" in the 1990s. But, let's also think a bit about these statistics. If there are 3.5 million "people with Arab roots" in the USA, as this group claims, then 700 incidents is a miniscule percentage. And, when viewed against the statistics for crimes against Jews, it pales in comparison.
Anyway, this whole report is practically useless for several reasons. #1, it takes the word of a group that has an ideological axe to grind, #2, the report does not properly quantify what a hate crime is, and #3, the report fails to place the statistics used in context with hate crimes against other religions and groups thereby making the stats presented meaningless in the greater scheme of hate crimes in America.
Pretty poor reporting all the way around. But it does help promulgate that left leaning ideal that America is filled with "violent" racists.
(Photo of Islamic Rage Boy from the Times of India)