A man near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 holds a pack of chewing gum called '"Islamophobin." The packaging attempts to bring attention to the issue of anti-Muslim attitudes in the United States. (CNS photo/Justin Lane, EPA)
(RNS) — It may be a law of nature: President Trump tweets something about Islam. Anti-Muslim hate crimes follow.
That’s according to a working paper by University of Warwick researchers Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz.
Their conclusions correspond with anecdotal reports collected by Muslim civil rights and advocacy groups, too.
“Whether it’s a tweet or whether it’s in a policy (Trump is) introducing, or if it’s in a policy someone in his administration is introducing, I think it all comes together to create this kind of environment where targeting Muslims is acceptable or has become acceptable,” said Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry at Muslim Advocates.
The data showed a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes since the start of Trump’s presidential campaign, concentrated in counties with high Twitter usage. It also showed a correlation between the number of Trump’s tweets in a given week that used keywords related to Islam and the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes that followed.