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Anti-Muslim, Jewish and LGBTQ incidents drive rise in hate crimes

More hate crimes were reported across America last year, with incidents targeting Muslims, Jews and the LGBTQ community on the rise.
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More hate crimes were reported across America last year, with incidents targeting Muslims, Jews and the LGBTQ community on the rise.

The FBI released its hate crime statistics for 2015, based on uniform crime reports from U.S. police forces, that reveals the number of hate crimes rose from 5,479 in 2014 to 5,850 last year.

This however is down on the total number reported in 2013, when 5,928 criminal incidents were reported.

The rise last year was fueled in part by a 67 percent increase in anti-muslim hate crimes, with attacks against homosexuals and transgender people also up.

A hate crime is defined as an offense against a person or property motivated by the offender's bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.

Here are some of the findings from the FBI report:

  • Anti-Islamic hate crimes rose from 154 in 2014 to 260 last year (67 percent increase).
  • There were 664 anti-Jewish crimes reported in 2015, up from 609 in 2014. They accounted for more than half the total religion-motivated hate crimes in 2015.
  • Crimes against gay men rose from 599 to 664, against lesbians were up from 129 to 136, and anti-transgender crimes were up from 58 in 2014 to 73 last year.
  • Anti-black/African American crimes went up from 1,621 to 1,745.
  • Anti-white hate crimes rose from 593 to 613.

Mark Potok, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told CNN that 2015 saw the highest number of anti-Muslim attacks since 2001, when there were 481 reported, many of them coming after the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on New York.

What's happening in Minnesota?

Hate crimes in Minnesota have been trending downwards in recent years, but there has been a slight uptick in anti-Muslim incidents that have been a cause for concern.

The FBI recorded 119 hate crimes based on uniform crime reports in 2015, of which 58 were motivated by race, 31 by sexual orientation and 20 by religion.

More than a quarter of these crimes were reported in Minneapolis, which had 30 total reported hate crimes of which 16 were anti-LGBTQ.

The most racially-motivated incidents were in St. Paul and Mankato, where 10 hate crimes were reported.

The Star Tribune has compiled slightly different figures using Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension stats, which state that the number of hate crimes reported last year is a little higher at 127.

The BCA statistics show a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Minnesota, with nine having been reported as of Oct. 24 this year and 11 reported last year.

In 2010, there were only two anti-Muslim hate crimes in the state.

Minneapolis mayor has anti-discrimination message

Amid simmering tensions and a handful of reported racially-charged incidents following last week's election, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges has said any discrimination will not be tolerated in the city.

"In Minneapolis, we still hold the highest standards for how we treat one another," she wrote on Facebook Monday. "Any act of discrimination or hate crimes is unacceptable.

"The number of stories of discrimination and hate I am hearing from the city and around the country in the wake of Trump's election is beyond unacceptable – it is a violation of our standards of humanity and decency.

"We are the city of Hubert Humphrey. We are the city of a Civil Rights Department founded by Hubert Humphrey."

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