Violent actions against Muslims in the US are Loretta Lynch’s biggest fear as a prosecutor:

With terrorist attacks in Paris and a shooting spree in California prompting alarm on the part of many Americans, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that her “greatest fear” is that expressions of anti-Muslim sentiment will lead to attacks on Muslims in the U.S.

“The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence,” Lynch told a dinner hosted by a Muslim civil rights organization. “My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.”

During her remarks to the Muslim Advocates dinner, Lynch did not address the mass shooting at an office party in San Bernardino, Calif. Wednesday in which 14 people were killed.

The Muslim Advocates dinner at which she made the remarks on Thursday, December 3. The shootings had occurred early on Wednesday, the previous day. At the Muslim Advocates dinner, Lynch also “said she was troubled by legislative proposals to cut off the admission of refugees from Syria and other countries considered prone to Islamic radicalism.”

Of course innocent Muslims residing in this country should be defended against crimes, violent or otherwise. It is certainly a valid concern. But, as in the months after 9/11, the number of such attacks is relatively low and the majority seem to be offenses such as vandalism and “intimidation” rather than serious violence to the person. That a backlash against Muslims would be Loretta Lynch’s greatest fear at this point is a troubling priority.

By the way, the latest FBI report on so-called “hate crime” statistics in the US found that Jews are the most frequent targets. In 2014, for example (the most recent year for which I could find more detailed information), the numbers on religiously-motivated hate crimes were as follows, as reported by the FBI:

Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,092 offenses reported by law enforcement [in 2014]. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed:

58.2 percent were anti-Jewish.

16.3 percent were anti-Islamic (Muslim).

6.1 percent were anti-Catholic.

4.7 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.

2.6 percent were anti-Protestant.

1.2 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.

11.0 percent were anti-other (unspecified) religion

The Jewish population of the US is estimated to be about 2.2%. The Muslim population of the US is difficult to know and estimates differ, but in 2010 it was thought to be approximately .9%. Although it is logical to assume it is somewhat larger now, even if we use that 2010 figure it appears that Jews are still proportionately more likely than Muslims to be the victims of actions motivated by hatred of their religion.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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