The first police reports started trickling in within 10 hours of Donald Trump’s victory speech.
A Muslim student from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette reported being attacked by two men on Wednesday morning. The victim told investigators that one wore a white “TRUMP” hat while they hit her with a metal object and shouted obscenities as she fell to the ground. University police say the suspects fled with the woman’s wallet and hijab.
The center of the campus was also defaced with incendiary pro-Trump language.
At San Diego State University, another Muslim student reported being followed by two men who made comments about Trump and the Muslims, according to the police report. University police say the suspects confronted the woman, stole her purse and car keys before fleeing the scene. They came back for her car while she was off searching for help.
It was the first full day of America under a President-elect Trump. And it reinforced fears that the Republican’s upset victory would inspire a new wave of Islamophobia nationwide.
One of Trump’s most popular proposals within his base has been to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. He has expressed an openness to secretly surveying mosques and Muslim leaders. He’s even suggested that American Muslims are actively harboring foreign terrorists.
Trump’s sweeping proposals has raised concerns of widespread discrimination that targets an entire religious group.
Corey Saylor, who tracks instances of Islamophobia at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino coupled with the incendiary rhetoric against Muslims playing out during the White House campaign had created a perfect storm of Islamophobia in America. He predicted attacks against Muslims will become even more frequent now that Trump will be president.
“Unfortunately the election of Trump will embolden people who don’t like minorities — and not just Muslims but minorities across the board,” Saylor said.
Intensifying those fears is the fact that the string of attacks reported on Wednesday were aimed at Muslim women specifically.
Many Muslim women chose to wear a hijab, a veil traditionally wrapped around their head. But it also clearly marks an easily identifiable symbol of Islam.
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Muslim women voiced their anxiety early Wednesday morning as the final election results slowly cemented Trump’s victory.
Some issued warnings to women that in wearing a hijab, their faith would compromise their personal safety. Others remained defiant.
Another Muslim woman reported Wednesday that she was attacked from behind in a parking garage at San Jose State University on Election Day. A man ran up and pulled at her hijab, choking her, the Mercury News reported, citing university police.
Reports of Islamophobic incidents have been on the rise. Overall hate crimes were down across the board in 2014, except for one category — crimes against Muslims, according to the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report.
They recorded 154 reported anti-Muslim incidents that year — an average of almost three per week. That was a rise of 14 percent from 2013.
Saylor said CAIR recorded 34 anti-Muslim incidents during November and December last year — or about one every second day.
“It was the worst period of anti-Muslim activity since 9/11,” Saylor added.
A report released by Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding also found an uptick in hate crimes against Muslims following terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino in 2015.
With Trump’s victory comes fears that his supporters will feel emboldened to stretch his most xenophobic views to the limit.
Trump’s candidacy was warmly embraced by the alt-right and Ku Klux Klan leaders. And instances of overt racism are already bubbling to the surface.
On Wednesday racist graffiti, including swastikas and Nazi slogan “sieg heil,” were spotted plastered around South Philly, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Following Wednesday’s attack at San Diego State University, President Elliot Hirshman issued a statement to help ease student groups and staff who expressed fears out of the divisive election outcome.
“Hate crimes are destructive to the spirit of our campus and we urge all members of our community to stand together in rejecting hate, ” he said.