By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) – More hate crimes were carried out in the U.S. in 2016 compared to the previous year, the FBI said in an annual report released Monday.
The report, which gathered information submitted by law enforcement agencies across the country, identified 6,121 incidents, up 4.6 percent from 5,850 in 2015. More than half of the incidents were motivated by the victim's race, ethnicity or ancestry.
Analysis of the 6,063 single-bias incidents involving 7,509 victims revealed that 21 percent were prompted by religious bias, the second-highest motivation for offenders behind race or ethnicity.
Muslims and Jews were the most common targets in the U.S., with anti-Muslim bias making up the second highest religious bias at 25 percent behind anti-Jewish bias, which accounted for about 55 percent, making Jews the most targeted group in the U.S.
The findings mesh with complaints from the Muslim-American community that its members have experienced a dramatic uptick in the number of Islamophobic attacks.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, said in a statement that the new FBI hate crime report shows the need for all Americans to stand up to increasing bigotry nationwide.
“We have all witnessed the anger and prejudice that characterized last year’s election season, and that is growing nationwide in the current political environment,” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s National Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia.
“To reverse this disturbing trend toward increased hatred and societal division, we must stand up to bigotry and the targeting of minority groups,” he added.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said earlier this year that it found "a dramatic jump in hate violence and incidents of harassment and intimidation around the country" in the wake of President Donald Trump's Nov. 8, 2016 electoral win.