November 17, 2016
An American civil rights advocacy organization says it has witnessed a surge in hate crimes and acts of violence across the US following the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has documented 437 cases of intimidation and abuse towards minorities since Trump’s election a week ago.
The nonprofit group, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama, said many of the attacks were linked to Trump’s supporters.
“An awful lot of these crimes are directly linked to the Trump campaign in the sense that graffiti was left or words were shouted that directly invoked Trump,” senior SPLC fellow Mark Potok said.
SPLC spokesman Ryan Lenz said the attacks “span a number of different sorts of ideological motivators,” including anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-woman attitudes.
SPLC blamed Trump for the spike in hate crimes, saying he fanned the flames of racial tensions through his divisive rhetoric in his rallies.
Since the beginning of his presidential campaign last year, Trump has made derogatory comments against women and minority groups, including Muslims and Mexicans.
The SPLC says it hasn’t been able to independently verify all of the recent reports, “but there are a growing number of confirmed investigations into alleged harassment and hate crimes.”
The SPLC figures come following an FBI report issued on Mondayshowing a 67 percent rise in hate crimes against Muslims last year.
At least 257 of hate crime incidents against Muslims took place in 2015 while 154 happened in 2014, according to the FBI.
Hate crimes overall grew by 6.8 percent in 2015 to a total of 5,850 incidents reported throughout the year, compared with the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”