In 2010, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) published a report on the state of South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in America, finding they lived in a climate of growing hostility, subject to suspicion without cause by multiple levels of authority. Today, a new report finds the situation has only gotten worse.
SAALT's "Under Suspicion, Under Attack" report, released today, found that not only has hate violence against these communities expanded in volume and intensity, but that hostile, xenophobic rhetoric has surged in public discourse by both elected officials and political leaders.
"We know our communities have consistently been the target of a hostile climate in the U.S. even as our nation becomes more racially diverse," said Suman Raghunathan, SAALT's Executive Director. "Yet I was certainly surprised that our nation's elected officials, particularly those who sought to represent us at the national level, would resort to xenophobic political rhetoric."
The report compiled 78 instances of xenophobic political statements between January 2011 and April 2014 -- casting members of the community as disloyal, suspect, or "un-American." That number represents a 40% increase from the previous analysis. SAALT also found 76 instances of hate violence over the same period, meaning one documented hate crime occurs every 3.5 days.
"Whenever anyone is targeted due to their perceived physical appearance, faith, or nationality," said Raghunathan, "we all become potential targets."