Libraries report surge in crimes by Islamophobes


From Evanston, Illinois, librarian Lorena Neal, a book vandalized in November.

From Evanston, Illinois, librarian Lorena Neal, a book vandalized in November.

There’s no doubting that Donald Trump fanned the flames of Islamophobic bigotry, and now they’re erupting in those venerable shrines of democracy, America’s public libraries.

From the Guardian:

A spate of racist incidents has been reported by US librarians in the aftermath of the presidential election. According to data gathered by the American Libraries Association (ALA), copies of the Qur’an and books about Islam have been defaced with swastikas and hate speech at locations across the US.

In the worst incident, four days after the election of Donald Trump, a man attempted to forcibly remove a student’s hijab as she studied in the library of the University of New Mexico. In November, in libraries as far apart as Oregon and Illinois, copies of the Qur’an have been defaced. In the Illinois incident, police were called in to investigate after seven books were vandalised in Evanston public libraries. As well as swastikas and comments about the prophet Muhammad in a copy of The Koran for Dummies, copies of the Qur’an, textbooks and conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s It’s All About Islam were also defaced.

ALA president Julie Todaro expressed alarm at the increase in the hate crimes perpetrated in libraries. She laid blame upon divisive rhetoric during the recent presidential election campaign. “These crimes – from defacing library materials in public libraries to offensive graffiti on the walls of academic libraries – have begun to mirror the divisive rhetoric of this campaign season,” she said.

Until now, the ALA had not collected data on hate crimes based on the legal definition, but Todaro was certain that incidents had risen sharply over the past month. “While libraries have always reported on a wide variety of crimes, and we have always had serious incidents of defacing library materials and graffiti, we are just now beginning to hear of many more specific instances of incidents of bigotry and harassment within libraries,” she said.

Trump’s open appeals to the basest instincts of people frightened by the collapse of the American dream and eager to seek the causes represent the classic politics of fascism.

He yelled fire in a crowded theater and won the presidency as a result.

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