A Horrific Attack
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, a longtime criminal who apparently posted hateful rhetoric on Facebook, is the suspect detained in Friday’s horrific Portland knife killings of two good samaritans as well for the injury of another. All intervened in response to a hate speech tirade against a Muslim train passenger.
On Facebook, a “Jeremey Christian” from Portland praised comic books, pot, and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. He wrote: “May all the Gods Bless Timothy McVeigh a TRUE PATRIOT!!!” while introducing a poem on his page. Mr. Chritian also denigrated Muslims and violently referred to Antifa supporters. Among the photo memes he shared, shown below, was one stating, “If We’re Removing Statues because of the Civil War, We Should Be Removing Mosques because of 9/11.” Portland media reports him to be a known white supremacist who participated in public events.
The horrific killings occurred on a train near Portland’s Hollywood Station during a rush hour barrage of “hate speech” about against Muslims and others that was reportedly directed at a woman wearing a hijab. The Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, starts this weekend.
In 2015, anti-Muslim hate crime rose 67 percent to 257, the highest level since 2001, according to the FBI, and various cities like New York and San Jose saw an additional increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in 2016. Spikes in hate crime sometimes occur following catalytic incidents like terror attacks like the one in Manchester this past week.
Attack Comes Amid 6 Percent Rise In Hate Crime in 2016 in U.S. Cities and a National Rise in 2015
The latest data for 25 large U.S. cities and counties showed overall hate crimes reported to police rose 6 percent in 2016, according to the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. Increases were highest in California and in the nation’s most populous cities. Of the 25 localities surveyed, 14 hit or tied multi-year highs in 2016. Of those cities and counties reporting increases and multi-year highs, four of them were among the five largest cities, where increases were far higher than the overall average.
In 2016, hate crime in Chicago rose 20 percent, 24 percent in New York City, 15 percent in Los Angeles, and 50 percent in Philadelphia. The largest increase, 62 percent, was in Washington, D.C., while Seattle ― with only a 6 percent increase ― and Columbus, Ohio ― with a 9.8 percent rise ― were the only jurisdictions where percentage increases fell below double digits. Boston; Suffolk County, New York; and Houston, however, had significant overall drops, although Boston experienced an increase in anti-Muslim hate crime.
The FBI found a 6.7 percent increase in hate crime in 2015, with 5,850 criminal incidents. If the national increases in the Cal State University municipal survey holds across the entire country, it would be the first consecutive annual increases since 2004, when there were 7,462, and the highest level since 2011. Still, even a 6 percent increase in 2016 would still be far below the levels of 2001, when there was a severe hate crime spike following 9/11.
Recently, ProPublica and Buzzfeed found Oregon had the highest per capita number of hate incidents collected in a non-governmental national data collection effort. The FBI indicated Oregon had 65 hate crimes in 2015. The states with the largest number of hate crimes overall in 2015 were California, 837; New York, 500; Ohio, 416; Massachusetts, 411; New Jersey, 330; and Michigan, 309. Maryland, whose separate 2015 state hate crime report released in September showed 203 hate crimes in the state, only showed 41 in the FBI figures. Many areas do not adequately report hate crime, however.
Religious Crimes Rose As Anti-Muslim Prejudice Hits Disturbing Levels
Religiously motivated hate crime rose dramatically in 2015 to 1,244 incidents, according to the FBI, an increase of 22.7 percent over 2014, where there were 1,014 incidents. The proportion of religion-based hate crime also increased to its highest level since modern reporting commenced in the early 1990s, constituting 21.3 percent of hate crime in 2015 compared to 18.5 percent in 2014. The 2015 religion hate crime FBI totals were also the highest numerically since 2010.
Similarly, the Bureau of Justice Statistics relying on annualized datasets from residential phone surveys found an even higher proportion of religiously motivated hate crime:
The percentage of hate crimes motivated by religious bias was nearly three times higher in 2012 (28 percent) than in 2004 (10 percent), but did not have a statistically significant change from 2011 to 2012.
In New York City in 2017, hate crimes through May 14 were up, at 178, compared to 114 for the same period in 2016, with anti-Semitic crimes up from 47 to 87 and anti-Muslim crimes up from 9 to 12.
In 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks, anti-Muslim hate crime peaked at 481 and had been in a range of 105 to 160 until 2015’s breakout. Anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015 showed a significant increase in the proportion of hate crimes from the previous year as well. Anti-Muslim hate crimes accounted for 4.4 percent of all hate crimes in 2015, up from 2.8 percent for 2014.
In the month of the election, through Dec. 12, 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) counted 1,094 incidents nationally, with 315 directed at immigrants, 221 at African-Americans, and 112 at Muslims, along with 26 anti-Trump incidents. California, with 125 incidents, led the nation.
SPLC also found direct references to President Trump or the election in over one-third of the national incidents right after the election. In addition, while the SPLC found only a 3 percent rise in hate groups, they found a tripling in anti-Muslim groups. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported 2,213 bias “incidents” in 2016 and a 57 percent increase and 260 crimes and a 44 percent increase. Election time spikes were confirmed in many, but not all cities in the Cal State Study.
From 2002 to 2014, the number of respondents who state that Islam is more likely to encourage violence doubled from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to Pew research. A June 2016 Reuters/Ipsos online poll found that 37 percent of Americans had a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Islam, compared to 38 percent for Atheism, 21 percent for Hinduism, 16 percent for Judaism and 8 percent for Christianity. Those results are not just recent developments. A 2009 Gallup poll showed 43 percent of Americans admitting to prejudice against Muslims, with 9 percent saying they had a great deal of prejudice toward them. Compared to the 43 percent of respondents admitting prejudice against Muslims, only 18 percent said the same for Christians, 15 percent for Jews and 14 percent for Buddhists. A recent 2016 Pew Research results show a significant proportion of non-Muslim Americans view Muslims negatively.
Erratic Homicidal Lone Extremists
The Portland attack is just the latest homicide in which race or religion appear to have been a contributing factor in 2017 and part of a disturbing trend of rising hate homicides, particularly by individuals with extremist proclivities or apparent mental illness in multi-fatality incidents or with knives. A Maryland white supremacist is facing trial for the random racial knife attack against an elderly African-American man in New York, while an African-American man is in jail after randomly killing three white people, days after killing a security guard in Fresno in April.
Also this month, an African-America soldier visiting the University of Maryland was stabbed in a random knife attack that is being investigated as a possible hate crime, but it has not been charged as such.
In Florida last week, a former white supremacist and newly converted violent Salafist Jihadist killed two of his neo-Nazi roommates in yet another bizarre attack after stating they degraded his faith.
2015 also had the highest number of hate homicides ― 18, according to the FBI ― going back to the beginning of the century, and the Pulse night club murders that killed 49 in Orlando last June were the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
Mr. Christian, following an emerging trend of possible mental distress combined with “blended extremism,” called himself an “Anarcho-Nihilist and registered Libertarian, who happened to vote for only Bernie in the primary then switched back.” He further wrote of anti-Semitism as well, “In short I sympathize with both Commies and Nazis because of Semitic Patriarchal Monethesism.”
Some violent homicidal extremists construct ad hoc idiosyncratic amalgams of hatred in part from a buffet found on social media, while others, like the recent Florida convert, skip from one extremism to another. These prejudices and stereotypes then direct where their violent sociopathic tendencies are targeted. Mr. Christian further wrote Antifa would “be X’d out of Portland soon” and stated, “I’m gonna stab some masked up bitches.”
Christian faces a judge Tuesday in connection with the killings amid a national outcry about rising hate crime and incivility.
U.S. Demographics-Religion: Pew Research Center
Christian: 70.6%; Evangelical Protestant 25.4% ; Catholic 20.1% 5.9%
Non-Christian: 5.9%; Jewish 1.9%; Muslim 1%; Buddhist 0.9%
Unaff.: 22.8%: Agnostic 4%; Atheist 3%
FBI Hate Hate Crime By Faith 1996-2015
From Jeremy Christian’s apparent Facebook Page