Law enforcement in Sunnyvale, California have a man in custody who ran over a crowd of people with his vehicle because he believed that they were Muslims. Police apprehended Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, after the incident. Police Chief Phan Ngo said of the incident:
“Based on our investigation, new evidence shows that the defendant intentionally targeted victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith. We understand that you will have many questions based on this announcement. However, we will not be releasing further information for now.”
This is the latest in what has been a notable uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes. Researchers have found that there is a direct connection between rhetoric against Muslims and the crimes committed towards them – including the activity from President Donald Trump on social media, particularly Twitter.
According to police. Isiah Peoples has been apprehended for hitting and injuring eight people with the vehicle as he was en route to a Bible study group, where he was reportedly bringing food. He rammed into the crowd of people at upwards of sixty miles per hour. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, people who saw Isiah at the scene said that he got out of the vehicle, and was incoherently reciting “Thank you, Jesus.”
One of the victims was a child, a girl who was only 13 years old. She suffered a broken pelvis and is currently comatose. Part of her skull has been taken out to in order to alleviate the pressure on her brain.
While the investigation remains open, the incident seems to be nothing more than another hate crime motivated by racial profiling and perceived religious beliefs. America was founded on the belief of religious liberty, but growing extremist factions are becoming increasingly hostile to those they perceive to be different.
Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.