Muslim-American Nabela Noor

Muslim-American Nabela Noor

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As warned by Michelle Malkin, the YouTube personalities chosen to ask questions of Republican presidential candidates during Thursday’s final GOP debate before the 2016 Iowa Caucus pursued narratives antithetical to the viewpoints of conservative primary voters.

Perhaps most pernicious of all was the question posed by Muslim-American Nabela Noor, pictured here in a “Feel The Bern” sweater. Noor stated:

In 2015, the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. has tripled, and on social media, where I spend a lot of time, I've seen many attacks directed towards fellow Muslims. This culture of hatred is only driving ISIS to radicalize, recruit and incite violence.

As president, what would you do to address this toxic climate and promote increased tolerance in the United States?

Over fifty percent (50%) of all “anti-religious hate crime” perpetrated annually during the Obama presidency has been committed on an “anti-Jewish” basis.

Here was my response to her question:

2014 is not just a one-off outlier. Over fifty percent (50%) of all “anti-religious hate crime” perpetrated annually during the Obama presidency has been committed on an “anti-Jewish” basis as classified by the FBI. You would not know that from the rhetoric of Ms. Noor or the Obama administration however, who would have us believe that an Islamophobic scourge is sweeping the nation, requiring corrective action up to and including the criminalization of “anti-Muslim” speech.

Now presumably what Ms. Noor actually was referring to in her assertion about anti-Muslim hate crimes was a report cited by the New York Times from the “Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.” This report noted that the number of hate crimes against Muslims since the November 13, 2015 Paris jihadist attacks had tripled to 38 (contrasted with 12.6 attacks per month based on FBI statistics).

And this is if we take the analysis cited by the Times at face value. It bears noting that the Center is run by Brian Levin, a professor at Cal State University, criminologist and civil rights attorney who formerly served as the Associate Director-Legal Affairs of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center’s Klanwatch/Milita Task Force in Montgomery, Alabama.

Even without questioning the messenger here or the veracity of the anti-Muslim hate crime statistics compiled from “reports from the news media and civil rights groups”—and even without acknowledging the potential for hoaxes given the number of prominent supposed hate crimes that were later shown to be perpetrated by Muslims themselves—Noor botched the statistic. A tripling of attacks in a one-month period does not equal a tripling of attacks during 2015 overall.

The ignored broader context about a supposed “toxic climate” in America is that the 1,140 anti-religious hate crimes recorded during 2014—the vast majority of which again, as has historically been the case, were perpetrated against Jews, not Muslims—represents a remarkably small number in a nation of over 300 million people, even accepting that such crimes may go underreported. Consider by comparison that in the first half of 2015 alone, the Islamic Republic of Iran executed over 700 people.

One would think that Ms. Noor, evidently a Bernie supporter and thus a member of the Party of Science, would show more fidelity to the empirical evidence.

Ben Weingarten is Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The FederalistNewsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter