Dar Al–Ifta’s Islamophobia Observatory condemned on Monday an attack on a Muslim police officer and her son in New York City. The observatory added that laws against both hate crimes and acts fuelled by religious hatred or bias are urgently needed, since these are considered attacks on personal freedoms and freedom of belief. They also stated that such acts are against both international and US laws.
Aml El Sokary, who is a decorated New York police officer, was both off-duty and unarmed while dropping her 16-year-old son off in Bay Ridge on Saturday night, according to US local media.
Shortly after parking her car, she turned to find a white male in his thirties pushing her son.
According to local media, Aml did not announce herself as a police officer and simply approached the suspect who then screamed: “ISIS [Islamic State]! I will cut your throat! Go back to your country!” He then reportedly fled the scene and currently remains at large.
The attack on Aml has attracted a lot of media attention, especially given the fact that this wasn’t an isolated incident. There has been a spike in number of reports of random attacks on Muslims as well as reported anti-Muslim hate speech and graffiti ever since the presidential elections this year.
2015 saw a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the US, according to an FBI report titled On Hate Crimes.
The New York Police Department stated that there have been 34 reported attacks on Muslims between 8 November and 27 November—a spike in incidents in contrast with the same time period last year which only included 13 reported incidents.
Islamophobia is not the only crime which has seen an increase in the US between 2015 and 2016. There has also been a 7% increase in general hate crimes against the LGBT community, women, people of colour, African Americans, Jews, journalists, and other individuals of alternative lifestyles. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, there were a reported 437 incidents of intimidation between the election on 8 November and 27 November that officially targeted people of colour, Muslims, immigrants, the LGBT community, and women.
Public opinion has split into two main categories with one side believing that such acts were encouraged by the election of Donald Trump as president last month while others believe that the attacks would have happened regardless of Trump’s rhetoric.
A lot of critics blamed the Trump agenda for propagandising divisiveness and hate speech. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Donald Trump was reportedly anguished by the rise in random hate crimes across the country.