Jewish Americans were once again the religious group most targeted by religiously-motivated bias crimes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation disclosed.
In its annual Hate Crime Statistics Act report, the FBI found a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes overall, as well as a similarly small decline in crimes motivated by religious bias. The report listed 7,120 overall incidents, of which 1,617 were motivated by religion. And 57% of those religious hate crimes – 920 overall – were motivated by offenders’ anti-Jewish bias, the FBI said. A record number of anti-Jewish crimes were violent in nature – 105 in total, up from 73 in 2017.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Jews have been the most common victims of religiously-motivated hate crimes every year since the FBI began such reports in 1991. Fifteen percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes were victims of anti-Muslim bias and four percent were attributable to anti-Sikh bias.
“It is unacceptable that Jews and Jewish institutions continue to be at the center of religion-based hate crime attacks,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We need to take concrete action to address and combat this significant problem.” He urged Congress to pass a bill that would improve hate crime training, prevention and data collection.
The most common hate crimes overall were those attributable to anti-black bias – more than 2,400 in total, 47% of racial incidents and 34% of all incidents.
The report also found that hate crime murders reached a record level of 24 in 2018 – attributable to the 11 people killed in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Hate crimes against Hispanics and LGBTQ individuals, especially transgender people, also went up last year.