An Islamic advocacy group is calling for increased police presence around several California mosques after they received letters that celebrated Donald Trump’s election victory and likened his plans to target Muslims to Adolf Hitler’s genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany.
The letter is just one of hundreds of hateful incidents sparked by the election’s outcome, which has seen people purporting to support Mr. Trump engage in violence, vandalism, and hateful speech. In the week after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center found a spike of 701 incidents of hate targeted toward minorities, 51 of which involved Muslims. While the bulk of those occurred during the first few days following the election, other incidents, like these letters sent last week, could indicate that hateful incidents targeting minorities based on religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, or place or origin aren’t necessarily subsiding.
The identical, handwritten letters arrived at the Islamic Center of Long Beach, the Islamic Center of Claremont, the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose on Wednesday. Each was addressed to “the children of Satan” and referred to Muslims as “a filthy and vile people,” bearing the signed name “Americans for a Better Way.”
“There’s a new sheriff in town – President Donald Trump,” the letter said. “He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims. He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the jews [sic].”
The Council on Islamic-American Relations reported the news of the letters Saturday and denounced them in a statement.
“This hate campaign targeting California houses of worship must be investigated as an act of religious intimidation, and our state’s leaders should speak out against the growing anti-Muslim bigotry that leads to such incidents,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said.
Authorities in Los Angeles have vowed to crack down on hate crimes as they continue to surge in California. According to the SPLC, more than 10 percent of reported hate incidents following the election occurred in California, the highest number in any state.
“Acts of hate tear at the fabric of who we are as a nation, and we want to send a strong message that no one should be reluctant or afraid to report a hate crime,” Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer told the Los Angeles Times.
Muslims in particular have been increasingly targeted. In 2015, there were 257 reported incidents involving Muslims, a jump from 154 the year prior, according to the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics.
But as some have reacted to the election with incidents of hate, others have responded by showing acts of kindness and support. As The Christian Science Monitor previously reported, some Americans have launched volunteer programs, including one that provides those feeling unsafe with accompaniment on their commute to work. Others say they have made an effort to peacefully engage those with different viewpoints in political discussions.
“Over the coming weeks and months I think we are going to see a lot of coalition building and finding strength and sources of hope and solidarity through these efforts,” Madihha Ahussain, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates in Oakland, Calif., told the Monitor. “It’s important for communities to come together – and I think there's been a lot of this the past few days. That, I think, brings strength to those communities who are impacted, helping them recognize that no one community is going to be alone.”