US libraries report spike in Islamophobic hate speech since election

Source: The Guardian

As well as an attempt to remove a student’s hijab at the University of New Mexico, books across the country have been defaced

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. More:

A photo posted by Evanston public library librarian Lorena Neal. The library filed a police report and they reported the incident to the Southern Poverty Law Center for their database on hate crimes.

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