CAIRO - With attacks on their worship places are on the rise, American Muslims are still facing high rates of hate crimes, new FBI statistics have revealed.Hate crimes against perceived Muslims, which jumped up 50% in 2010 largely as a result of anti-Muslim propagandizing, remained at relatively high levels last year, according to 2011 hate crime statistics released today by the FBI, Mark Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), wrote on Salon website on Monday, December 10.
The bureau reported that there were 157 reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2011, down slightly from the 160 recorded in 2010.
The 2011 crimes occurred during a period when Islam-bashing propaganda, which initially took off in 2010, continued apace.
The report by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program in Hate Crime Statistics found that after a massive spike in 2001, hate crimes against American Muslims began a slow descent.
The figures reversed itself in 2010, rising 50 percent to 160 reported crimes.
That increase occurred after the rise in hostility to planned mosques across the country, particularly the Park51 Islamic community center in New York City.
Adding to the hostility were attempts by Republican lawmakers to ban the use of Islamic Shari`ah in courts.
Last year saw continued high levels of anti-Muslim propaganda such as the crusade by some against the alleged Muslim plan to impose religious Shari`ah law on the United States, Potok wrote.
There were a number of local battles over the construction of new mosques, and several were attacked by apparent Islamophobes.
During election campaigns, Islam and Islamic Shari`ah became a central theme in electoral rallies of Republican hopefuls to get their party nomination to run in the November presidential election.
Most candidates have toughened their tone in attacking Islamic Shari`ah to win support for running against Democrat president Barack Obama.
The SPLC activist doubted the figures released by the FBI, insisting that the real level of hate crimes is some 20-30 times the number indicated in FBI reports.
Two Department of Justice studies have indicated that the real level of hate crimes in America is some 20-30 times the number reported in the FBI statistics, in part because some 56% of hate crimes are never reported to police and more than half of those that are mischaracterized as non-hate crimes, Potok wrote.
Nevertheless, the FBI statistics can be used to get a sense of general trends.
Since the 9/11 attacks on their country, US Muslims, estimated by 7-8 million, have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California said that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.A recent Gallup poll, however, found 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.