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US saw spike in hate crimes post Trump's win: American expert

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

There was a "surge" in hate crimes against minorities in the US after the of Donald Trump as the president, an American expert today claimed.

"Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric was high during the presidential poll campaigning and the winning candidate (Trump) talked about registration, banning and surveillance for Muslims. And right after the election, the crimes started taking place.

"There were four cases of arson of mosques, three in January and one in February, besides 35 other attacks on mosques, born out of the hatred unleashed during the elections," claimed Mark Potok, a leading expert on global extremism.

To a question whether the recent rise of right-wing populism and vigilantism in and the US was similar, he said, "Yes, I see the two as very similar".

The former Senior Fellow at US-based Southern Poverty Center (SPLC), a well-known civil rights organisation, also alleged there was a "rise" in hate crimes against minorities in the after the Brexit, something similar to what happened in America after the elections.

"And, these (crimes) were aimed at all kinds of minorities, gays, and others and not just dark-skinned people. And, in both cases the perpetrators were similar, white, less educated, those who came from less educated background," Potok said, in a video link-up interaction with journalists at the American Center here.

The Pulitzer-nominated journalist and also an author, further claimed, after the US elections in November, there was not just "increase" in hate crimes against Muslims but also a "hike" in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups, "nearly 100 by 2016".

"Besides, in 37 per cent of the cases the perpetrators, in one way or the other reference Donald Trump while attacking or abusing the victim, like 'Get Out of here, Trump is our President now' or his 'Making America Great Again'," he said.

An estimated 293,800 violent and property hate crime victimisations occurred in 2012 against persons age 12 or older residing in US households, according to America's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

On a question in the recent attacks on people from the Indian community, he said, there is no consolidated data on it as such, but in 2015, the number of anti-Asian hate crimes stood at 111, which showed a steady fall from its tally of 199 in 2005. "From 2015, two new categories anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh were added to the list. So, five of these crimes were anti-Hindu and six anti-Sikh."

The hate crime analyst, also gave a historical perspective of racial crimes, old legislations and supremacist groups like Ku Klux Klan.

The SPLC monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists - including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo- Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, anti-government militias, Christian identity adherents and others.

"We're currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country. We publish investigative reports, train enforcement officers and share key intelligence, and offer expert analysis to the media and public," according to SPLC website.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 18 2017. 22:42 IST