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Reports of hate crimes, racist graffiti spike in US after Trump’s victory

Within hours of Donald Trump’s victory in the US election, a Muslim student wearing a hijab was robbed at a university in San Diego, California, by two men who spoke about the president-elect and Muslims.

us presidential election Updated: Nov 11, 2016 23:04 IST
US Elections 2016,Donald Trump,Hate crimes
Pedestrians look at graffiti on the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia. (AP)

Within hours of Donald Trump’s victory in the US election, a Muslim student wearing a hijab was robbed at a university in San Diego, California, by two men who spoke about the president-elect and Muslims.

An African American woman about to enter a store in Bloomington, Indiana, vice-president-elect Mike Pence’s home state, saw a truck with some white men “speed up on her”. The men yelled out, “‘F*** you n***** b****.”

And a massive Nazi swastika was found painted on the wall of a public park in Wellsville, New York, along with Trump campaign’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. Similar graffiti was found at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Police are investigating a spate of hate crimes against Muslims, African Americans, Jews and members of the LGBT community being reported from all over country after the election of Trump, the Republican nominee, on Wednesday.

He pledged to be president for “all Americans” in his victory speech early on Wednesday morning, but it may take more than that to stop supporters who feel emboldened by his remarks and acts of omission and commission during the campaign.

Read | Trump’s ‘call’ to ban Muslims restored on his campaign website

Trump was slow to disavow support from David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan; threatened to ban Muslims from entering the US; castigated “Black Lives Matter” activists and repeatedly called Hispanics “rapists” and “criminals”.

He did eventually distance himself from Duke, but the white nationalist didn’t. Duke celebrated Trump’s win, tweeting that it was “the most exciting nights of my life” and adding, ominously, “make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!”.

Maha Abdul Gawad, a Muslim woman, told The Independent that a woman walked up to her at a Walmart store on Wednesday and pulled off her hijab. “This is not allowed anymore, so go hang yourself with it around your neck not on your head.”

There have been reports of Muslim girls in schools and colleges taking off their hijab on their own to prevent being subjected to verbal and physical abuse from classmates, and there have also been reports of those instances as well.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Trump on Thursday to “begin unifying the nation by repudiating the type of bigotry generated by his campaign for the White House”.

“Unless Mr Trump speaks out forcefully against hate attacks by his supporters, they will take his silence as tacit endorsement of their actions,” the body said in a statement issued by CAIR’s national communications director Ibrahim Hooper.

Read | US split in two: Oregon turns into epicentre of anti-Trump protests

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and discrimination of all kinds, has started a campaign inviting people to sign an appeal calling on Trump to honour his pledge, in his victory speech, to be president of all Americans.

“First, you must publicly disavow all forms of bigotry. Second, you must assure the country that no one associated with a hate group or any form of extremism will have a position, a voice or influence in your administration,” the appeal said.

Trump, who has resumed tweeting, hasn’t said a word on this. But he did write about coming together in another tweet about the protests: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

That is clearly not enough, and the situation is likely to get worse. The Loyal White Knights, the North Carolina chapter of KKK, has announced a victory parade to celebrate Trump’s election, saying, “Trump's race united my people.”

Read | Trump victory: Towards an inward-looking America

First Published: Nov 11, 2016 22:55 IST