FBI: Hate crimes against Muslims up by 67 percent in 2015

People stand on the steps of New York's City Hall during an interfaith rally in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to block Muslims from entering the United States, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
People stand on the steps of New York's City Hall during an interfaith rally in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to block Muslims from entering the United States, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

ATLANTA (AP) – The FBI says the number of hate crimes reported to police increased by about 6.7 percent last year, led largely by a 67 percent surge in crimes against Muslims.

The reporting period covers calendar year 2015, and includes the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. Civil rights groups had raised concerns about an anti-Muslim backlash in the U.S. even before the attacks.

According to the data released Monday, there were 257 incidents of anti-Muslim bias in 2015, compared to 184 incidents in 2014. The number is second only to the surge in hate crimes following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

A portion of the increase could be due to an increase in reporting by victims as well as better reporting and tracking by law enforcement agencies.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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