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'Hate Is Rising in America': During Trump's First Year in Office, Largest Spike in Hate Crimes Since 9/11

"Words matter—hate speech has consequences."

Aazaan Anjum and Jannat Anjum join with others for a Community-Wide Solidarity Vigil at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach to remember the victims of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh temple on October 30, 2018. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Despite a number of "glaring omissions" and limitations that prevent a complete look at the extent to which hate-driven violence is on the rise in America, new FBI data showing that 2017 saw a spike in hate crimes not seen since 2001 was met with alarm and calls to action by civil rights advocates, who have connected President Donald Trump's racist and xenophobic rhetoric to the increase in attacks on people of color, religious minorities, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable groups.

"The FBI data confirm the reality we all know: hate is increasing in America."
—Maya Berry, Arab-American Institute

The 7,175 reported hate crimes during Trump's first year in office represents a 17 percent rise from 2016 and the largest single-year increase since violence against Arab-Americans and Muslims soared after 9/11.

"The scourge of hate crime continues to harm communities in cities and states across the country. The FBI data confirm the reality we all know: hate is increasing in America," Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute, said in a statement on Tuesday. "The FBI data, in what is missing from it, also demonstrates the hate crime reporting system we have in place is failing to respond adequately to hate crime, and thus inform fully the policy remedies we must make to improve our response to hate."

According to the FBI's data—which comes just weeks after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 people after opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue—there were 2,013 hate crimes against black Americans, 938 against Jews, and 237 against Muslims in 2017.

Hate crimes targeting people for their sexual orientation accounted for 1,130 of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, the FBI found.

"This is shocking and requires Congress's full attention," the NAACP declared on Twitter in response to the FBI's numbers. "Shouldn't this urgent crisis be subject of first post-recess Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, instead of ramming through more Trump judges? Our lives are at stake."

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