A Somali man was stabbed in the neck and shoulder area while on the street last week, with the suspect later telling police, "I hate Muslims."
Charges filed Tuesday say 47-year-old Kelvin Porter was seen on camera with a knife, lunging at and stabbing the victim in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood around 11:15 p.m. last Friday.
The victim managed to get away when a third person on the sidewalk nearby threw something at Porter, according to the criminal complaint. The victim, who was treated for the wounds, told investigators he was minding his own business when Porter approached.
According to the charges, while being taken to jail Porter told police, "I tried to stab the Somalian in the neck," which he later repeated. While being booked he said, "I hate Muslims," the charges say.
Porter is charged with second-degree assault, and faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty.
Hate crimes and Muslims
Muslims make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population, with an estimated 3.3 million people, Pew Research has found.
Hate crimes targeting Muslims have been on the rise in the U.S., with FBI figures released in November revealing there were 260 reported hate crimes in the state in 2015, up from 154 the year before.
Minnesota has experienced a slight uptick in anti-Muslim incidents, even though hate crimes have been trending downwards in the past few years.
Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota Director Jaylani Hussein said in a release the allegations around Friday's stabbing make it sound like a bias-motivated crime, and called on authorities to investigate it as a hate crime.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office, in a statement Tuesday, said Minnesota law allows for a lengthier criminal sentence if a crime is motivated by hate or bias. The time to seek that out is later in the process though, and the office said it "will raise the motion at the appropriate time."
The perception of Muslims in America
Americans generally feel more warmly toward Muslims than just a few years ago – but Americans' perception of them as a religious group is still worse than other major religions, and even atheists.
Pew Research asked people to rate how warmly they felt about religious groups on a scale of 1-100 (1 being cold, 100 being hot). The survey was done in January, and found Muslims had a median score of 48.
That was the lowest median score out of every religious group. It was up from 2014 when Pew did the same survey, and the median score for Muslims was 40. Younger people tend to feel more warmly toward the group than older people. Here's the 2017 overall results