At least two recent cases of Somali-Americans being targeted in MN

Twice in the past week, Somali-Americans in Minnesota have been targeted with violence or threats.
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Twice in the past week, Somali-Americans in Minnesota have been targeted with violence or threats.

One victim punched several times on the bus Saturday by a man who was yelling a string of racial slurs at him and telling him to speak English, according to charges filed in Hennepin County.

Another incident happened on a Lakeland Elementary school bus, when a fifth-grader said he was going to shoot a Somali third-grader; a few days later he brought an air pistol to school, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota.

Both come after another high-profile incident, when racist graffiti on a Maple Grove high school bathroom stall appeared a day after the elections, according to the Star Tribune.

CAIR-MN urged all school districts to protect their Muslim-American students "because of the wave of racist and anti-Muslim incidents nationwide following the November 8 election," CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said on the group's website.

Has there been a rise in bias crimes?

One of the narratives since the election has been about hate crimes.

In New Jersey and New York anti-semitic messages have been showing up, including swastikas being spray painted in front of people's homes, NBC New York reported. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has set up a hotline to report hate crimes and even created a special police force to deal with the hate crimes in his state, CNN reported.

Are bias incidents like these actually higher? It's hard to say with certainty right now.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has recorded nearly 900 complaints about hate incidents, USA Today reported. But they weren't counting before the election, and figures from the same period in 2015 weren't included.

Though experts in a separate story told USA Today in the days after the election that there had indeed been an uptick.

The 'official' figures

The most recent official stats that are available cover 2015, and were just released by the FBI this month. Their annual report on hate crimes showed a 6 percent increase from 2014-2015.

They found that 5,850 bias crimes were committed in 2015. And another 6,885 bias offenses (not quite crimes) were reported. The FBI says that 59 percent was focused on ethnicity, race, or ancestry bias and 20 percent on religion bias.

Hate crimes targeting Muslims went up by 67 percent in 2015, the highest amount we've seen since the aftermath of 9/11, according to the New York Times.

If you experience a hate or bias crime, contact your local authorities immediately and report it to a group such as the Anti-Defamation League online here.

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