Last week, a Muslim woman was set on fire in the middle of New York City’s Fifth Avenue in what police are calling a possible hate crime motivated by Islamophobia. That comes just days after two Muslim women were attacked while strolling with their babies on a Brooklyn sidewalk. The attacker, identified as Emirjeta Xhelili, reportedly attempted to injure the children as well.

This was just a week before a blast injured 29 people in Manhattan and several more explosive devices were placed in New York City and New Jersey. Authorities say they are looking at one suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, as the lone attacker. Rahami is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Afghan descent.

And that was before a knife attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota, allegedly by 22-year-old Dahir Aden, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Somali descent.
All of the incidents have nothing in common, except two things – Islamophobia and innocents.

By all appearances, each attack was motivated by Islamophobia. The ‘terrorist’ attackers in NYC and St. Cloud were motivated by perceived discrimination against Muslims–Islamophobia. And by all appearances each victim was innocent and only trying to get through the day. Their attackers were prejudiced against Muslims.

California State University, San Bernardino found that hate crimes against American Muslims were up 78 percent over the course of 2015. Attacks on those who are mistaken for Middle Eastern rose even more sharply.
It’s true that the number of extremist terror attacks around the world has risen in the last few years; however, it’s also true that the majority of those victims were innocent Muslims in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, etc.

That means that innocent Muslims are victims at both ends of the spectrum. Those practicing their religion around the world, not bothering a soul, are murdered in the streets of their countries. While those practicing their religion in the States, not bothering a soul, are attacked in the streets of their cities.

ISIS once published an article about ‘eliminating the gray zone’ – that’s the peaceful ‘zone’ where tolerance exists and people can coexist with different beliefs. In this article they wrote that they’d perform acts of terror across the world to seed division. They clearly expressed their goal of turning the world into jihadists and crusaders.

In a world where Muslims are the primary victims of both extremists and the West, is ISIS achieving its goal? Is the West falling for their tactics?