The Charlie Hebdo atrocity has ended in more terror and more blood.
Even before the killers and hostage-takers met their end, voices were raised to warn against the danger of an anti-Muslim “backlash.” Lately, these warnings have been issued even before the completion of the terror attack that might supposedly provoke such a backlash. Australian bus riders were tweeting "I’ll ride with you” this past December even as a gunman held 17 people hostage in a chocolate shop. The New York Times posted its warning as the Charlie Hebdo killers still roamed northern France and their apparent confederates murdered a policewoman and seized Jewish women and children in a kosher supermarket on the eve of Shabbat.
The good news is that more than 13 years after the 9/11 terror attacks, anti-Muslim violence remains a rare phenomenon in Western democracies. In the United States, for example, the FBI tallied 165 anti-Muslim hate-crime offenses in 2013, or about one-tenth the number of offenses targeting gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. Only about one-third of anti-Muslim crimes involved violent attacks on people. Comparable statistics for Europe are more difficult to come by. (In 2014, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League published a sharp critique of the deficiencies of hate-crime record-keeping in European countries.) Yet in Europe too, violence against Muslims seems mercifully rare. A day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, French prosecutors reported three probable anti-Muslim hate crimes, all of them carried out against buildings rather than people: blank grenades hurled at a mosque in Le Mans, west of Paris; shots fired at an empty Muslim prayer hall near Narbonne, in southern France; and an explosion at a kebab shop in eastern France. None of these attacks resulted in casualties.