NJ Politics Digest: In the Age of Trump, State Bucks Hate Crime Trend

Alleged inappropriate targeting by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents was among the top five types of anti-Muslim bias incidents cited in a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

A report released Monday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) warns of a disturbing trend of increased incidents targeting Muslims across the United States.

But, while the report cites a 17 percent increase in bias incidents across the United States, there is good news coming out of New Jersey, according to a NorthJersey.com report.

The report indicates that anti-Muslim bias incidents in the state actually decreased from 69 in 2016 to 57 in 2017.

James Sues, executive director of CAIR-NJ, however, wasn’t celebrating, telling the website that since most bias incidents are unreported, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from the decreasing numbers.

The CAIR report, which claims to be the only one “of its kind, providing both hard numbers and real stories of impact on the lives of American Muslims,” blames a climate of “xenophobic rhetoric” and “bigotry” fostered by the Trump administration for “an increase in the onslaught of institutional and individual prejudice against American Muslims.”

The report cites a 17 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents nationwide in 2017 over the previous year and a 15 percent increase in hate crimes targeting American Muslims.

“Of particular alarm,” the report said, “is the fact that federal government agencies instigated 35 percent of all anti-Muslim bias incidents recorded in 2017.”

The top five reported kinds of anti-Muslim bias incidents reported were harassment (14 percent), inappropriate targeting by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (13 percent), hate crimes (12 percent), inappropriate targeting by the FBI (10 percent) and employment discrimination (nine percent), according to the CAIR report.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, however, told NorthJersey.com that his agency “does not discriminate on the entry of foreign nationals to the United States based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

Quote of the Day: “This was an opportunity for him to again connect with the public, and he failed.” — Nicole Marengo, owner and president of Madison Art Consulting, on former Gov. Chris Christie not using a New Jersey artist or broker for his $85,000 official portrait.

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