Los Angeles County saw a spike in anti-Muslim/Middle Easterner hate crimes in November and December of last year, KNBC reported. An analysis conducted by the Los Angeles Country Commission on Human Relations discovered that hate crimes increased to nearly a dozen in the last two months of 2015, compared with one such crime during the comparable period in 2014.
"We expected there to be an uptick," said Robin Toma, the executive director of the commission, KNBC reported. "We always hope and wish that we progress as a society [and] that people are less prone to acting out without thinking, and not generalizing an entire group or religion based on the acts of a few, but we know that not everyone is there yet."
During November and December in L.A. County, a middle school was spray-painted with anti-Islamic rhetoric, an Islamic school received a threat that everyone would be shot, a man who said he was from Saudi Arabia was physically assaulted, a man found his motorcycle defaced with anti-Arab language, and a mosque was vandalized.
The uptick in hate crimes targeting Muslims and Middle Easterners comes in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and a mass shooting San Bernardino, California. In December, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to condemn the San Bernardino attack to recognize that "no religion or race or ethnicity is responsible for these acts" and that "fear-based stereotyping and scapegoating creates an atmosphere conducive to Islamophobia, xenophobia, discrimination, hate and bigotry."
Furthermore, in January the Los Angeles Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee created a task force aimed at promoting stronger relations and cooperation among police agencies and affected communities, as well as to prepare for any future incident that could result in an increase of hate crimes.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric has been used this election season by several candidates, including Republican front-runner Donald Trump. At a rally in Virginia Monday, the billionaire businessman reportedly told a fictional story about an army general killing Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. This rhetoric has played well with his fans but drawn condemnation from members of both parties.