Monday, November 23, 2009

Religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2008

Today the FBI released its hate crime statistics for 2008 (thanks to ReligionClause for the heads-up on this). Religious hate crimes would be an extreme type of "social regulation" that we discussed in class last week. Many statistics are reported by the FBI, and I will mention just a few.

Of the 7780 incidents that had a single bias in 2008, 19.5% were religious hate-crimes. Thus is much less than the racially motivated crimes (51.3%), but more more than the sexual-orientation motivated crimes (16.7%), ethnicity/nationality motivated crimes (11.5%), and disability motivated crimes (1%).

There were 1606 religiously motivated hate crimes in 2008: nearly two-thirds were anti-Jewish, 13% were "anti-other religion," 8% were anti-Islamic, 5% were anti-Catholic, 4% were anti-multiple groups, 4% were anti-Protestant, and 1% were anti-agnostic/anti-atheist.

It would be interesting to compare these with religious hate crime rates in other countries. It is not surprising that the anti-Protestant hate crime rate is very low given that Protestants are not a minority in the country. It is also not surprising that anti-Jewish is the most common type of religious hate crime. I was surprised that "anti-other" was not bigger. Most new religious movements would fall into category.


  1. So to hate crime victims report to the FBI or to their local authorities on such events and then the FBI publishes these records? Maybe it depends on the religion to the extent that the victim would report. I can't say for certain because I do not have any data, but from what I know, certain cultures tend to be more vocal when abused as opposed to others. Religion may have some similiarities to my assumption but I wouldn't know. Some ethnicies would cause up a storm if something happened to them, but other people may just be subdued and bite their tongue. You can even see that on the basketball court, certain races tend to complain more than others, and this could be from cultural upbringing or just the way that race has assimilated into Southern California society. Religion can have a role in that too, but probably not as significant unless the fouls committed on the courts were religiously direct. That I would not know. But these are just thoughts.

  2. Kirk Arihara 26573377November 24, 2009 at 5:05 AM

    Based on a website online it said Jewish are the most hated because economically, they are wealthy and have power. There are many Jewish owned industries such as DreamWorks and Century 21 not to mention the CEO of Disney and Microsoft are also Jewish. Many people might hate the fact that historically they are claimed to be the chosen peoples. Also Christians make up about 33% of the population of religious people, which is the largest religious group. Many Christians believed that the Jewish are to be hated because of the narrative belief that they killed Jesus. Another sadly to say is that from historical racial profiling, Jewish are considered an inferior race even though economic statistics show they are not. Lastly the Jewish population is hated because in society they have been a convenient group to discriminate against and point fingers at. Even today people use the term “Jew” derogatively towards Jewish and Even non Jewish individuals.

    I think in the US in most recent years it would seem that the most hated group has been religions of the Middle East due to terrorist attack of 2001. It has been used and publicized a lot in media which makes it acceptable to hate these people.

    I think that anti-other is justifiable since atheist and other religious groups who are uncommon, people don’t really know about them. Plus being an atheist doesn’t mean that you don’t have potential religious capital. So many religious do not hate these people as religions want to convert these people to be saved under their supernatural being. Ok back to studying.

  3. I've looked over the statistics for Canada for the year 2006, and it looked to be about the same in terms of percentages as the U.S. However the actual accounts of hate crimes was extremely low, but "anti-other" was much higher. Perhaps it is Stigma associated with these religions portrayed in the media that generate motivation for hate crimes.

  4. I am also surprised to see that "anti-other groups" was only 13%. Historically, these groups have been persecuted a lot, thinking back to the early Chistian church under the Roman empire. As mentioned before, I am not surprised that Jews were the group with the highest-rate of hate crimes against them, but I was not expecting it to be such an overwhelming margain.
    In general, people do not like change, especially religious change in their country examples being: modern France with Islam, Tudor England the Catholics and Protestants, and how the media dealt with the Heaven's Gate group. While the first two are exmaples of government regulation- a form of social regulation- the last was done "by the people" in the form of media coverage. This NRM known as Heaven's Gate was deemed as a "cult" and evil, therefore opening the door to hate-crimes against New Relgiious Movements.
    I would expect that since Judiasm is being so socially regulated those who paid the cost of the stigma and put up with the discrimination would be more religiously committed to the group, as we have learned this stigma might actually be making the Jewish faith in America stronger.

  5. What I found interesting about the article is the large separation from religious hate crimes and ethnicity/nationality hate crimes. The two terms are usually closely related, and to have almost a 10% was surprising.

    You can usually match a person's nationality with their ethnicity. Generally, a specific ethnicity usually has a shared common religion. I would have thought that the hate crimes committed towards religion may have also been flipped flopped and could have been towards ethnicity.

    Would it be safe to say that the popular media is the key contributor to so many stigmas in our society. Whether it comes from television shows like Southpark that commonly pokes fun of Jews for their money and past, or recent events, like September 11, that raise unknown hatred towards Muslims.

  6. Yes I do agree with other comments here about the economic success of the Jewish being a contributing factor to some of the crime directed against them. However, I also think that Jewish report incidents at a higher rate than other relgions who may fail to report some lesser incidents. The Jewish of course have a long history of predujice directed against them and may be extra sensitive to report offensive actions or language. As for hate crimes against some of the newer movements, perhaps the general public does not know enough about some of these newer faiths to act against them. The other religions of course have long standing biblical differences that many people general grasp. Additionally, it could also help that some celebrities are involed in some of the more obscure faiths such as scientology, and maybe make them seem more acceptable. Lastly, I think it would be very intresting if it was possible to determine which groups are commiting the majority of hate crimes against other faiths. I would think the at least some of relgious hate crimes are commmited by believers of some religion.

    - donna yen


Comments of economic content are welcome. Comments that deride or criticize others will be removed.