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The Center for Security Policy today released a revised edition of their groundbreaking longitudinal study, Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009: Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims –  Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization, based on FBI statistics reported annually in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The Center’s study contradicts the assertions that religious bias crimes against Muslims have increased, and that the alleged cause is widespread “Islamophobia” in America.  In fact, the study shows that religious bias crimes – also known as hate crimes – against Muslim Americans, measured by the categories of incidents, offenses or victims, have remained relatively low with a downward trend since 2001, and are significantly less than the numbers of bias crimes against Jewish victims.

The Center’s study also contradicts the assumption of increased hate crimes against Muslims which has been asserted by Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, and is the topic of hearings being held today.  Printed copies of the study were delivered to each member of the U.S. Senate early this morning.

According to the Center’s analysis, in 2009, Jewish victims of hate crimes outnumbered Muslim victims by more than 8 to 1 (1,132 Jewish victims to 132 Muslim victims). From 2000 through 2009, for every one hate crime incident against a Muslim, there were six hate crime incidents against Jewish victims (1,580 Muslim incidents versus 9,692 Jewish incidents).  Even in 2001 when religious bias crimes against Muslims increased briefly for a nine-week period, total anti-Muslim incidents, offenses and victims remained approximately half of the corresponding anti-Jewish totals.

The study provides hard data that disproves the counterfactual statements made by a small number of highly vocal Muslim lobbying groups, many linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as leftwing activists.   Citing these false assumptions concerning America’s alleged “Islamophobia” and a supposed rising trend in hate crimes against Muslim Americans, these organizations  argued against holding the March 10, 2011 House Committee on Homeland Security hearings on Muslim American radicalization, and have argued for today’s hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution.  The study shows that these arguments against the March 10 hearings, and for today’s March 29 hearings, are not based on facts but rather on a political agenda.

Frank Gaffney, President of Center for Security Policy remarked:

This report is important because it exposes a false belief perpetuated by a few vocal groups that religious bias crimes against Muslims are on the upswing.  The truth is quite the opposite.  These arguments, unsubstantiated by hard factual data, are corrosive to community relationships at every level of American society, and a potential threat to national security.

Note: This Center for Security Policy Occasional Paper is available as a PDF, or is reprinted below.


Religious Bias Crimes (2000-2009): Muslim, Christian & Jewish Victims – Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization

Clare M. Lopez, Roland Peer & Christine Brim



Misperceptions about religious bias hate crimes in America are widespread.  This study is a longitudinal comparison of religious bias hate crimes, as reported by the FBI, from the pre-9/11 year of 2000 through 2009, the most recent year for which statistics were available.[1]  The assertion that religious bias hate crimes against one group in particular, Muslims in America, have proliferated in the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001 has gained acceptance within media and government, thanks to a steady drumbeat of assertions to this effect from a small but vocal group of advocacy organizations.

Internationally, the most aggressive of these is the 57 member state Organization of the Islamic Conference, with its so-called “Islamophobia Observatory.” In the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)[2] and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)[3] have taken the lead in issuing claims that discrimination and religious bias hate crimes against Muslims are increasing.[4]  These organizations have also asserted that “Islamophobia” and statements critical of Islam, Shariah law, or political Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood may be linked to the alleged rise in hate crimes.  Alternatively, counterterrorism expert Steve Emerson has suggested “In advancing the notion that government policy has resulted in an undeserved backlash against ordinary Muslims, CAIR seeks to muster opposition to the anti-terror laws it finds objectionable.”[5]

To inform this public debate about religious bias hate crimes in America, the Center for Security Policy analyzed data from 2000 through 2009 for three FBI-identified victim groups: Jews, Muslims, and Christians (a combined statistic for the purposes of this whitepaper, combining separate FBI data for Catholics and Protestants). The source of all the religion bias crimes information cited in the following report is the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program,[6] which collects crime statistics on an annual basis and presents them online. Appendices B-T at the end of this report present those official FBI statistics in tables and charts showing the comparative incidence of religious hate crimes for Christians, Jews, and Muslims from 2000-2009.

The results may prove surprising to those who took CAIR or MPAC spokesmen at their word. For example, in 2009[7], in totals for a combined five categories of hate crime, from Simple Assault to Crimes Against Property, Jewish victims of hate crimes by religion outnumbered Muslim victims by more than 8 to 1 (1,132 Jewish victims to 132 Muslim victims). Nor is 2009 an anomalous year in terms of these numbers. Across the decade, from 2000 through 2009, Jewish victims of hate crimes by religion outnumbered their Christian and Muslim counterparts, with the exception of a nine-week period following the 9/11 terrorist acts for two categories of bias crimes: simple and aggravated assaults statistics.[8]   From 2000 through 2009, for every one hate crime incident against a Muslim, there were six hate crime incidents against Jewish victims (1,580 Muslim incidents versus 9,692 Jewish incidents).

The Center for Security Policy presents this study to inform the dialogue surrounding religious bias crimes in the U.S. and to provide a fact-based resource that analysts, researchers, and citizens can use for a reality check.

Prior Research

Although a number of European academics and institutes (particularly the British[9]) have produced studies on the general topic of “Islamophobia” in the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, few Americans have tackled “hate crimes” from the objective perspective of a neutral academic and empirical study based on the available FBI statistics. Two studies are representative, though unlike our study, neither is a longitudinal study encompassing a ten-year period.

Jeffrey Kaplan, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh authored a report entitled, “Islamophobia in America?: September 11 and Islamophobic Hate Crime.”[10] Although this report does reference FBI hate crime statistics, it does so only for the period from 2000-2002, as Kaplan’s study focus is that period of time just after the September 11 attacks on the U.S. He concludes that “The intense phase of these attacks comprised approximately nine weeks, after which the number of hate crimes fell sharply” due, he writes, to national leadership from the U.S. president, decisive law enforcement intervention, grassroots outreach to Muslim communities across the country, and a “rapid dissolution of American moral certainty about the War on Terror.”

In other research, Steven George Salaita produced a study for the New Centennial Review in the Fall of 2006 which set out to “summarize the evolution of the Arab image in American media since Ronald Stockton’s seminal 1994 analysis, with emphasis on the role of 9/11, and advance the usage of the term anti-Arab racism as a more accurate replacement for the traditional descriptors Orientalism and Islamophobia in relation to the negative portrayal of Arabs in the United States.”[11] Unlike our study, the author approached the topic with a non-empirical framework.

Scholarly research in the area of hate crimes is increasingly a popular area for specialization, as witnessed by the Journal of Hate Studies, celebrating its 8th Volume in 2010.[12]  A useful short review of the field’s scope – though unfortunately not addressing a longitudinal analysis nor  the FBI data – can be found in Barbara Perry’s essay, “The more things change…post-9/11 trends in hate crime scholarship,” a summary of the various disciplines’ research addressing the issue of hate.[13]

Methodology and Findings

The “Religious Bias Crimes in America” study is a longitudinal look at the instances of religious bias crimes, also known as hate crimes, against Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the United States from 2000 to 2009. The use of the term “Hate Crime” is defined by the FBI in its 1996 Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection[14] as well as in its Uniform Crime Reporting Program,[15] which find their authorization in the April 23, 1990 “Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990.”[16] This legislation requires the U.S. Department of Justice to compile and publish an annual summary of data about crimes that “manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”  This study focuses on those hate crimes that clearly demonstrate prejudice based on bias against Christians (Catholics and Protestants combined), Jews and Muslims, as identified by the FBI.  Three other categories of religious bias crime for which the FBI collects statistics, but which were not included in this study because they are less specific for purposes of comparison are: anti-other religion, anti-multi-religious group, and anti-atheism-agnosticism.

The Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines define a bias crime:

A criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin; also known as Hate Crime.

Definitions of the various offenses against person and property are also provided in the Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines.[17]

Three broad categories of religious hate crimes are included in this study: incidents, offenses, and victims. A single incident may include more than one offense (for example, intimidation and robbery). An offense may have more than one victim.  A victim may be the target of more than one offense.  Data categories for offenses and victims are sub-divided between crimes against persons, and crimes against property. Each of these sub-categories is further broken down by specific types of crimes.  For example, crimes against persons include 1) murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, 2) forcible rape, 3) simple assault, 4) aggravated assault, 5) intimidation (by far the largest crimes against persons category), and 6) other.   Crimes against property include 1) robbery, 2) burglary, 3) larceny/theft, 4) motor vehicle theft, 5) arson, 6) destruction/damage/vandalism (by far the largest crimes against property category), and 7) other.  A third category, crimes against society, (at the same hierarchical level as crimes against persons, and crimes against property) presented only insignificant numbers for all three religions in the study (19 victims for all three religious groups from all ten years combined – see Appendix C, Table 2).

While there has been a slight variation through the years, anti-Jewish hate crimes have hovered around 70% of total anti-religious hate crime, while anti-Muslim violence has accounted for around 10%, and anti-Christian hate crime has totaled slightly less than 10%. Jewish and Muslim populations in America, as noted previously, each are estimated at 6 million persons (with an alternate estimate by Pew for the Muslim population). There was an increase in anti-Muslim violence in 2001 (exceeding both Jewish and Christian rates for simple and aggravated assault), which decreased to the 10% range in 2002, where it has remained (a temporary smaller spike was seen in 2006 against both Jewish and Muslim victims).  Even in the anomalous year of 2001, total anti-Muslim incidents, offenses, and number of victims were approximately half of the corresponding anti-Jewish totals (Muslim Incidents – 481, Victims – 546, Offenses – 554; Jewish Incidents – 1043, Victims – 1117, Offenses – 1196). That the terrorist attacks occurred relatively late in the year – in September of 2001 – suggests that the increase in anti-Muslim violence occurred over a period of a few weeks, or more specifically nine weeks as noted in Kaplan’s study. Looking at total numbers of victims over the 2000-2009 period, for every Muslim victim from 2000 to 2009, there have been over six (6.13) Jewish incidents of hate crimes.  As noted previously, in 2009 the ratio increased: for every Muslim victim, there were even more – over 8 – Jewish victims.

Most anti-religious hate crimes in the United States are not of a violent nature against persons. Aggregating anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Jewish hate crimes against persons and property from 2000 to 2009[18], demonstrates that 64% of total hate crimes are crimes against property, and of these, 92% are cases of destruction/damage/vandalism, and the majority of the remaining 8% are burglary and larceny/theft. There have been 38 robbery offenses, or 0.3% of total hate crimes and of these, 23 were anti-Jewish. The rate of arson is very small, accounting for slightly more than 1% of total crimes against property.

Of the remaining 36% of total cases that are crimes against persons, most (77%) are classified as intimidation. Virtually all of the other 23% are simple or aggravated assault. There were no rape cases and only one murder, of a Jewish victim. There was an increase in 2006 in anti-Muslim aggravated assault (24 offenses), compared to 22 anti-Jewish offenses, and in 2009 (11 vs. 9). There were no similar spikes in cases of simple assault, and in other years, anti-Jewish aggravated and simple assault cases are double that of anti-Muslim assault cases. While cases of anti-Jewish aggravated assault decreased between 2008 and 2009 from 25 to 9, anti-Jewish simple assault cases increased sharply from 58 to 82. When compared to the overall population of over 300 million people, anti-religious hate crimes are not highly prevalent in the United States for any religious group.  Bias-motivated crime is simply not that common for any religious group in the U.S.

Comparing the prevalence of anti-religious hate crimes by religion requires measuring the number of incidents against the overall population of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the United States. Self-identified Christians accounted in 2008 for 76% of the adult American population[19], or 173,402,000 persons, significantly higher than for Muslims or Jews, and therefore the relative prevalence of anti-Christian crimes is by far the lowest of the three. Muslim groups in the U.S. such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), with an interest in presenting the U.S. Muslim population as equivalent to the Jewish one, repeatedly have declared the number of Muslims in the U.S. to be about 6 million persons, ,[20]  Within the same range, Chicago Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the 2010 Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions’ Board of Trustees Chairman, has cited 2001 estimates of 5.8 million and 6.7 million Muslims in America.[21] On February 3, 2011, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) similarly cited “the reality of 6 million Muslims.”[22] A lower estimate was published by the Pew Research Center in January 2011, when it put the Muslim population of the U.S. at 2.6 million.[23] The 2010 US Census estimates the Jewish population in the United States to be 6.5 million, or 2.1% of the total population in 2009, and this includes those who self-define as Jewish either by religion, ethnicity, or culture. [24] This broad definition thus can be seen as defining an upper boundary for the U.S. Jewish population, given that the FBI hate crime statistics define Judaism as a religion.

The Facts Contradict the Myths

These findings seem to contradict the popular perception that Muslims face more discrimination than Jews in the United States. For example, a Pew poll conducted in 2009 found that 58% of Americans believe there is “a lot of discrimination against” Muslims, opposed to 35% who thought the same for Jews. [25] FBI statistics do show a lower percentage of anti-Jewish hate crimes have identified offenders, which may contribute to the misperception that anti-Jewish hate crimes in the United States are not as prevalent as they really are.  Of total known offenders from the period of 2000 to 2009, 56% committed anti-Jewish hate crimes; the number rises to  67% when unknown offenders are included.

The process of local law enforcement data collection and categorization is inconsistent and both over-reporting and under-reporting may occur[26].   The goal of our analysis is to show the relative frequency of hate crimes, by religion and by type.

We have looked at primarily at some summary statistics for this report.  In addition, we include the tables here as appendices along with a selection of charts.  The spreadsheet data tables and charts are available for download in excel format at

Hate Crime Rhetoric

 Concerns about a backlash against Muslims in America arose in the aftermath of 9/11 and were given added impetus by books, studies, and other publications and statements by various organizations and Muslim leadership figures and groups. The November 2002 report by Human Rights Watch, “We Are Not the Enemy: Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11″[27] is representative of the genre. Citing a “severe wave of backlash violence” involving “more than two thousand September 11-related backlash incidents” against Arabs and Muslims in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, the report claims such people were targeted “solely because they shared or were perceived as sharing the national background or religion of the hijackers and al-Qaeda members deemed responsible for attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”[28] Although the report goes on to claim that “comprehensive and reliable national statistics are not available,” this study cites the readily-available official FBI statistics that indeed do show a spike from 28 to 481 total hate crimes against Muslims between the years 2000 and 2001; however, according to the FBI figures, even that high mark is exceeded by a factor of two for the typical annual total of hate crimes against Jews in America.[29]

The January 6, 2010 report, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim Americans,” produced with funding from the Department of Justice, also cites an “increased anti-Muslim bias” in the years since the 9/11 attacks. This paper’s three authors, David Schanzer and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University and Charles Kurzman from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assert that Muslim-Americans bear the brunt of government counterterrorism initiatives, some of which they consider discriminatory.[30]

Then there is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which styles itself an organization “that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims” and a “Washington-based Islamic advocacy group” dedicated to challenging “anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide.”[31] The CAIR website includes an extensive section on “Islamophobia,”[32] a term reportedly coined by the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the International Islamic Institute of Thought (IIIT),[33] in an effort to find a concept useful in beating back critics of Islamic law (shariah) and jihad.[34]

CAIR traces the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” to writing by Samuel Huntington in the 1990s that posited a coming “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West. CAIR claims that “when 9/11 happened,” those already prejudiced against Islam were influenced by “right wing outlets” and “pro-Israeli commentators such as Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson, Judith Miller, and Bernard Lewis” to amplify an atmosphere of “extreme prejudice, suspicion, and fear against Muslims.”[35] Deftly sidestepping the historical record of decades of international terror attacks perpetrated by Muslim jihadis well before 9/11[36], in addition to centuries of shariah-inspired jihad that preceded the current one[37], CAIR’s Islamophobia page cites a number of surveys conducted in the years following 2001 that indicate Americans believe Islam encourages violence, does not teach respect for the beliefs of non-Muslims, or that mosques ought to be monitored by U.S. law enforcement officials. Americans’ entirely rational concerns about jihadist attacks and the encroachment of shariah on American society are then described not only as the font of “discrimination, exclusion, and violence” against Muslims (without citing any official statistics to substantiate the accusation), but the naturally-to-be-expected source of Muslims’ own “disillusionment, social disorder, and….irrational violence.” [Emphasis added][38]

Slander, Blasphemy, and Insult to Islam in Shariah

It is imperative that western societies like ours understand the serious implications within Islamic law for accusations of insult to Islam, Islamic doctrine, or Muslims. Under shariah, the offense of slander is defined very differently than in U.S. law. According to the ‘Umdat al-Salik (or Reliance of the Traveller), a book of Islamic law that carries the imprimatur of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the global seat of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, Slander “means to mention anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike…”[39]  Several pages later, a further explanation is provided: “A person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim to relate or prevents disobedience.”[40] Under Islamic law, truth is no defense against an accusation of slander and the offense is held to be a Hudud crime, one deserving the harshest punishment.

Even more serious than Slander under Islamic law is the offense of Blasphemy. The Muslim authorities hold Blasphemy to be insulting or abusing that which is held sacred in Islam. This can include anything from cursing Allah or the prophet Muhammad to irreverent behavior towards Islamic religious beliefs or customs. Even expressing opinions about Islam considered at variance with normative beliefs can be construed as blasphemy under this extremely subjective definition. Not only Muslims traditionally have been held accountable under the Islamic blasphemy laws, but also non-Muslims, especially dhimmis (conquered, subjugated People of the Book, i.e., Christians and Jews). “Reviling Muslims” or “Harming the Friends of Allah Most High” are considered serious sins, termed “Enormities”.[41]  Such offenses are described in Islamic law as those that entail either a threat of punishment in the hereafter, a prescribed Hadd punishment, or being accursed by Allah or the prophet Muhammad.[42]

Islamic laws on Blasphemy and Slander should not be considered outmoded or an irrelevant remnant of the 7th century: they remain very much in effect in modern times, as the following excerpt from the authoritative Malaysian scholar Mohammad Hashim Kamali’s 1997 essay, “Freedom of Expression in Islam“, makes clear:

“However, a general observation which should be made here is that in matters which pertain to the dogma of Islam, or those which are regulated by the direct authority of the Qur’an or Sunnah, criticism, either from Muslims or non-Muslims, will not be entertained, as personal or public opinion does not command authority in such matters. Islam is basically a religion of authority, and the values of good and evil, or rights and duties are not determined by reference to public opinion, or popular vote…” [Emphasis added][43]

It might be added that Dr. Kamali, who was a Professor of Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the International Islamic University Malaysia and also Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization (ISTAC) from 1985 – 2007, and is currently Chairman and CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, Malaysia, is considered not only a leading international academic authority on Islam, but a “moderate Muslim.”  He was on the advisory group for Imam Feisal Rauf’s “Shariah Index Project” and is a listed expert at the purportedly moderate organization World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE).[44]

The deadly intent of the shariah laws on Blasphemy and Slander repeatedly has been demonstrated in recent times: among examples which could be cited are the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, the 2004 murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, and Anwar al-Awlaki’s 2010 fatwa against the Washington state journalist Molly Norris (who was forced into permanent hiding for jesting online about an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”). The consequences, therefore, of being accused by a Muslim of offending Islamic beliefs, customs, or laws should not be underestimated. The developing concept of “Islamophobia” obviously is heading in this direction.

Here is a final example. Given the centrality of this doctrine to Islam, the 21 February 2011 demand by CAIR for Fox News program host and former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, to apologize for “inaccurate and offensive” comments about Islam and to meet with Muslim leaders to discuss growing Islamophobia in American society”[45]  needs to be taken very seriously. CAIR’s leadership knows exactly what such an accusation implies under Islamic law; it is to be hoped that the Governor does, too.

There is one more aspect of the Islamic laws on Slander that needs to be mentioned in this regard. Our jihadi enemy does not want the non-Muslim infidel world (and especially our national security leadership) to understand the true character and intentions of those shariah adherents who are dedicated to “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”[46] Specifically, the enemy reserves the right to employ taqiyya (deceit and dissimulation) as well as the Islamic laws on obligatory lying[47] to keep such information from those whose knowledge of it could lead to effective defensive measures against shariah. Attempted enforcement of this legally sanctioned code of silence about the genuine nature and objectives of the jihadist enemy is one of the key usages of the Slander and Blasphemy laws in the west.[48]

“Islamophobia” and Defensive Jihad

To carry through the Islamic legal principles inherent in the Slander and Blasphemy laws to their logical end point, it is useful to refer to classical as well as modern pronouncements on the elements that Muslim scholars hold necessary to justify and declare defensive jihad. For, in fact, this justification is where accusations of “Islamophobia”, religious “hate crimes,” and insult to Islam plausibly lead.  In fact, in numerous cases, hate crime violence or intimidating threats of violence against persons and property in response to perceived “blasphemy” has been a response in the last decade in Muslim-majority countries, and also in Canada, Europe, and the U.S.  The examples in Muslim-majority countries are too numerous to list, but a sample of U.S. cases include the jihad threats against Molly Norris, creator of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, the South Park cartoon producers, and publications that republished the Danish “Muhammed Cartoons.”

Classical scholars of Islam, such as Al-Shaybani (8th-9th century disciple of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence and a jurist in his own right) and Ibn Rushd (12th century legal scholar known as Averroes in the West) have written extensively and assertively on the obligatory nature of offensive jihad according to shariah, simply for the purpose of establishing Islam in the world.[49] It was understood both explicitly and implicitly that defensive jihad was obligatory as well. Among the Qur’anic verses commonly cited as justification is the following:

“Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely.”  —  (Q 8:39)

Turning to the modern Islamic scholars, Louay Safi is a Muslim author and scholar who has served at the top ranks of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the U.S. He formerly was the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)’s Leadership Development Center, Executive Director and Director of Research for the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), editor of the Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, and President of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) (1999-2003). ISNA, IIIT, and the AMSS all appear on the Muslim Brotherhood’s own list of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”[50] Safi currently serves as Common Word Fellow at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at GeorgetownUniversity. His credentials, in other words, would seem impeccable to speak to Islamic rulings on defensive warfare.

The slim 2001 paperback book, “Peace and the Limits of War,” was authored by Safi and published by the IIIT in response to the post-9/11 surge in public awareness of Islam and jihad. While Safi attempts to distance himself from the classical Islamic scholars on the topic of mandatory offensive jihad, he has no such compunctions when it comes to “War in defense of Muslim individuals and property.” He writes:

“When wrong is inflicted on a Muslim individual by a member, or members, of another political community….the Islamic state is obligated to make sure the individual, or his family, is compensated for his suffering, and that his rights are upheld…it suffices to say that the Islamic state should ensure that justice has been done to the wronged Muslim, even if that take a declaration of war…”[51]

Perceptions about the prevalence of hate crimes against Muslims matter, especially when considered in the context of Islamic law (shariah), which criminalizes insults to Islam as “slander” or even “blasphemy.”[52] A false belief, perpetuated by a few vocal groups, that deliberate religious bias crimes against Muslims are increasing regardless of the lack of support by hard factual data, is corrosive to community relationships at every level of American society, and a potential threat to First Amendment free speech rights and national security. Efforts at the international level, especially by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)[53], to define any questioning of Islamic doctrine as “hate speech” leading to “hate crimes”, such as  “Islamophobia” and as a “human rights violation” by way of official resolutions at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), directly create the premise for criminalization of free speech. Further, although non-binding at this time, such UNHRC resolutions conceivably could legitimize an eventual casus belli, by which an appropriate fatwa could declare justification for violent defensive jihad by the forces of Islam.  As recently as March 7 2011, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, formerly with the Democratic National Committee, wrote of critics of the Shariah law and Islamic terrorism in America, that:

If these ‘professional bigots” have provided the grist, the mill itself was run by the vast network of rightwing talk radio and TV shows and websites and prominent preachers, who have combined to amplify the anti-Muslim message nationwide. Their efforts have done real damage. They have tormented descent [sic] public servants, created protests that have shuttered legitimate institutions, fomented hate crimes and produced fear in the Muslim community.[54]


This data presented in this study demonstrate that common perceptions about the incidence of “hate crimes” in America that are directed at individuals or groups on the grounds of religious identification often mistakenly ascribe the majority of such offenses to anti-Muslim sentiment. To the contrary, the 2000-2009 FBI crime statistics data used in this study indicate that the majority of U.S. “hate crimes” in fact are perpetrated against Jews. The spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes following 9-11 did not last longer than nine weeks according to prior research.  The most important conclusion may be that total religious bias crimes are few in a country of over 300 million persons.  In fact, the U.S. is a model as a tolerant country, with a significantly low (and in some cases falling) number of hate crimes, in which most Muslim Americans are fully integrated and accepted, as well as economically and socially successful, fellow citizens.

The persistence, scope, and sophistication of the campaign to portray Muslims in America inaccurately, as making up the majority of “hate crime” victims, points to an organized effort whose potential implications derive from Islamic law (shariah). Insult towards Islam, Islamic doctrine, and individual Muslims, especially by non-Muslim infidels, can carry serious penalties under Shariah law. Further, because the “crimes” of insult, slander, and blasphemy are so subjectively defined in shariah, the doorway is wide open for those with an agenda of victimology to lay a foundation that not inconceivably could lead ultimately to a declaration of “defensive jihad” against persons, property or the broader community.   “Homegrown” jihadist terrorism can find its motivation as part of the radicalization process in this heightened, and counter-factual, sense of victimization that justifies organized or “lone wolf” acts of jihad that are rationalized as defensive.



Charts & Data

Charts and data for this Occasional Paper are available in the PDF, or as Microsoft Excel files below:


[1] Center for Security Policy staff and interns contributed to the data entry, analysis, and verification.

[2] The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) presents itself as an Islamic advocacy group and America’s largest Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization. CAIR was included on the Department of Justice’s published list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding case of 2007-2008. Its Internet home page may be found at . See CAIR’s reports on bias from 2007 (
and 2008 ( ).

[3] The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) calls itself a “Public service agency working for the civil rights of American Muslims”. According to the counterterrorism think tank The Investigative Project, “MPAC’s public advocacy often involves defending accused terror financiers and opposing law enforcement efforts to root out terrorists and their enablers.  In nearly every case, MPAC has responded to investigations by the FBI and the U.S. Treasury Department with complaints that authorities have not proven their allegations, and variations on the constant themes that enforcement actions unfairly single out Muslim groups and ‘bear strong signs of politicization.’  At the same time, MPAC has been equally diligent in defending individual terrorists uncovered by federal investigations.”,accessed February 28, 2011.

[4] “Behind CAIR’s Hate Crimes Report,” Daniel Skinner, The Weekly Standard, may 6, 2004,; “CAIR’s Hate Crime Nonsense,” Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, May 18, 2005,; “Fudging the Numbers on Hate Crimes,” Mike Pesca, NPR, may 23, 2005,; all accessed February 28, 2011.

[5] “CAIR Pushes Phony Charges of Anti-Muslim Hysteria, Hate Crimes,” Investigative Project, April 4, 2008. accessed February 28, 2011.

[6] The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program and its annual Crime in the United States reports are described online at

[7] 2009 is the most recent year for which full data are available. See the FBI Hate Crime Statistics for 2009 at, accessed 12 February 2011.

[8]  Simple Assaults by Victim by Religion for 2001 (Muslim 66, Jewish 45, Christian 3); Aggravated Assaults by Victim by Religion for 2001 (Muslim 27, Jewish 13, Christian 1)

[9] Neil Chakraborti, editor, Hate Crime: Concepts, policy, future directions, Willan Publishing, 2010.

[10] Kaplan, Jeffrey, “Islamophobia in America?: September 11 and Islamophobic Hate Crime,” Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Accessed 20 February 2011 at

[11] Salaita, Steven George, “Beyond Orientalism and Islamophobia: 9/11, Anti-Arab Racism, and the Mythos of National Pride,” CR: The New Centennial Review, Michigan State University Press, Volume 6, Number 2, Fall 2006, pp. 245-266. Accessed online 21 February 2011 at

[12] Journal of Hate Studies, Volume 8 (No. 1), 2010, accessed February 28, 2011.  The Journal’s authors defend a wide spectrum of beliefs, ranging from a positive review for the anti-jihad movie “Obsession” (Vol 5, #1) to numerous articles from a more conventional perspedctive.

[13]Perry, Hate Crime: Concepts, Policy, Future Directions, p. 17

[14] Accessed online 21 February 2011 at

[15] The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program and its annual Crime in the United States reports are described online at

[16] 28 U.S.C. § 534. See Appendix C for the full text of this legislation.

[17] Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines, p. 24, accessed February 28, 2011.

[18] This does not include the negligible number (19) of “crimes against society) from 2000-2009 for all three religious groups.

[19] “Self-described Religious Identification of Adult Population: 1990 – 2008,” U.S. Census,, accessed February 28, 2011.

[20] Ihsan Bagby, Ph.D., Paul M. Perl, Ph.D., Bryan T. Froehle, Ph.D., The Mosque in America: A National Portrait, Council on American Islamic Relations, April 26, 2001, p.6: “Estimates of a total Muslim population of 6-7 million in America seem reasonable…”

[21] Abdul Malik Mujahid, “Muslims In America: Profile 2001,” Soundvision, , accessed February 28, 2011.

[22] “Background Information on Radicalization Hearings,” Muslim Public Affairs Council, February 3, 2011. accessed February 28, 2011.

[23] The Future of the Global Muslim Population, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Jan. 27, 2011. Accessed 7 March 2011 at

[24] Table 77, Christian Church Adherents, 2000, and Jewish Population, 2009 – States. 2010 US Census.

[25] Muslims Widely Seen as Facing Discrimination. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Sept. 9, 2009.

[26] “FBI Report Notes Rise in Hate Crimes,” Deborah Tedford, NPR, November 23, 2009, , accessed February 28, 2011.

[27] Available in PDF format and accessed 21 February 2011 at

[28] “We Are Not the Enemy: Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11,” Human Rights Watch, NOVEMBER 2002 VOL. 14, NO. 6 (G) (p. 4).

[29] See Appendix D, “Hate Crime Trends: 2000-2007”

[30] Schanzer, David, Charles Kurzman, and Ebrahim Moosa, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans,” January 6, 2010. Accessed online 21 February 2011 at

[31] The official CAIR website is at CAIR’s foundational organization, The International Association for Palestine, was included on a list of organizations called “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” in a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document called “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”

[32] “Islamophobia,” accessed February 28 2011.

[33] The website of the Herndon, Virginia-based International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is at  The IIIT, like CAIR, is on the Muslim Brotherhood list of its friends and organizations of friends; also like CAIR, the IIIT was included in a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.

[34] Muhammad, Abdur-Rahman, “Whether or not Ground Zero mosque is built, U.S. Muslims have access to the American dream,” The New York Daily News as cited by The Investigative Project on Terrorism, September 5, 2010. Accessed online 21 February 2010 at Muhammad is a former member of the IIIT, whose by-line states that he “now works to combat Islamic extremism in the American Muslim community.”

[35] CAIR “Islamophobia” page; accessed 21 February 2011 at

[36] “List of Islamic Terror Attacks Against America Before 9/11,” , accessed February 28, 2011.

[37] Andrew Bostom and Ibn Warraq, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, Prometheus Books, 2008.

[38] “Islamophobia,”

[39] ‘Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. Section r2.0: Slander (p. 730).

[40] Ibid, Section r3.0 (p. 741).

[41] Ibid, Section p50.0 (Hurting or Reviling Muslims) and p51.0 (Harming the Friends of Allah Most High) (pp. 686-688.

[42] Ibid, The Author’s Introduction, Section p0.0 (pp. 651-2).

[43] Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, “Freedom of Expression in Islam,” Islamic Text Society, 1997. From chapter IX. Freedom of Religion (Al-Hurriyyah al-Diniyyah). Accessed online 22 February 2011 at…/freedom/kamali_freedom.doc      

[44] “Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Biographical Highlights,” accessed February 28, 2011.

[45] “Dissemblers At Council On American Islamic Relations – CAIR – Whip Up The Discredited Bogeyman Of Islamophobia,”, February 21, 2011. Accessed 22 February 2011 at

[46] “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” a 5/22/91 Muslim Brotherhood document entered into evidence in the 2007-2008 U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.

[47] ‘Umdat al-Salik, Section r8.0, Lying (beginning on p. 744).

[48] “Shariah: The Threat to America,” Center for Security Policy, October 2010 (pp. 103-106).

[49] See “The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani’s Siyar” by Majid Khadduri and Ibn Rushd’s magnum opus, “Bidayat al-Mudtahid wa-Nihayat al-Muqtasid” for their authoritative treatments of jihad.

[50] “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” 1991. ISNA also appeared on the U.S. Department of Justice list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial.

[51] Safi, Louay M, “Peace and the Limits of War.” International Institute of Islamic Thought, Herndon, VA.

[52] See “Slander (Ghiba)” in Section r2.0 of the ‘Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (pg. 730). For a thorough discussion of Slander and Blasphemy in Islamic law, see also the Center for Security Policy study, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” September 22, 2010. Available online at

[53] Organization of the Islamic Conference:

[54] “Islamophobia can create radicalization,” James Zogby, March 7, 2011, The Nation,  accessed March 8, 2011.

Center for Security Policy

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