In our society groups gain from attaining the status of "victim." Once the "victim" label is on a group, then they become difficult to criticize and can make demands based on grievances. One player in American politics who understands this game is CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. To read their press releases, one would believe that America has been awash in the persecution of Muslims since 9/11. Their claim has been repeated often enough that it has entered public consciousness: witness the scholarly paper on corruption and economic development posted earlier, in which reference is made to anti-Islamic hate-crimes following 9/11. The footnote for this reference is to a CAIR release.

But, is CAIR overstating the number of anti-Muslim hate-crimes in the US? Perhaps to aquire the coveted status of victim? That charge has been made in the blogosphere. Perhaps it is best to check an objective source. Here is a quote from the official FBI report on hate crimes in 2001. "A breakdown of the 2118 victims of hate crimes motivated by religious bias showed that the majority of victims were Jewish, 56.5 percent. Anti-Islamic bias accounted for 26.2 percent of victims of hate crimes motivated by religious bias, . . ." Report here . The statistics table shows 554 Muslim victims, compared with 1196 Jewish victims. For 2000 the FBI report indicates 36 Muslim victims, and 1269 Jewish. Report here. For 2002 the figures are 174 Muslim victims, and 1084 Jewish. Report here.

Yes, we did see a spike in anti-Muslim incidents following 9/11. But, we have not seen continued widespread persecution of Muslims. Even during and after 2001 it remains more hazardous to be Jewish.