“The election really has empowered bigotry and hatred, and it’s not only targeting American Muslims.”

Photo: Anthony Moretti 27Sept2015

Photo: Anthony Moretti 27Sept2015

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review examines what it will take for the vitriolic rhetoric of the presidential election to mute and efforts at bipartisanship to be heard.

It’s difficult to analyze whether reports of hate-charged acts have been tracked and reported more than usual or if communities are experiencing a spike in incidents.

Data about hate crimes tend to be inconsistent and outdated.

In its annual hate crime statistics report issued last month, the FBI counted at least 5,850 hate-crime incidents last year, the latest data available. That was nearly a 7 percent increase from 2014 after the number of incidents fell by 8 percent between 2013 and 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates at least two-thirds of hate crimes never get reported.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been tracking recent events. The Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit said it has counted 867 hate-motivated incidents in the 10 days following the election — including 36 in Pennsylvania — not counting cases of online harassment.

Last week, at least 10 mosques or Islamic centers in seven states — including one in Harrisburg — received threatening anonymous letters stating, “You are evil. You worship the devil, but, your day of reckoning has arrived,” the Washington Post reported.

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