Muslims 'absolutely' the group most victimized by global terrorism, researchers say

Monday's terrorist attack targeting Muslims in London is just one of many.

While attacks by Muslims against non-Muslims in Europe have dominated headlines recently, researchers from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a research and education center at the University of Maryland, believe that Muslims are in fact the most likely victims of terrorism worldwide.

Attacks target Muslims in the Middle East and beyond

START Executive Director William Braniff and his team studied the causes and human consequences of terrorism, compiling details about attacks like the one that took place in London on Monday. What they found is that — although they did not always have information about the religious beliefs of the victims — Muslims were the most affected overall.

"In the Middle East, Muslims are the most likely victims of both terrorism and counterterrorism efforts," Braniff told ABC News.

His point of view may come as a surprise to Westerners who think about terrorism only as high-profile attacks carried out in the U.S. and Europe, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year. But when he and his team looked at terrorism more comprehensively, including regions like the Middle East and Africa, it became clear that Muslims are most frequently targeted, he said.

"Here, we've seen an increase in attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists but also terrorist attacks targeted against Muslims," he said.

Attacks on the rise in the West but result in fewer fatalities

Erin Miller, the program manager of START's Global Terrorism Database, which tracks attacks going back to 1970, agreed that attacks against Muslims are on the rise and offered some insight into why they don't always garner the same media attention.

"There are many attacks against Muslims in the West, but they are frequently less lethal," she told ABC News.

Miller cited a report by a German media group that said there were 3,533 attacks on refugees and refugee hostels in Germany in 2016. Those attacks injured 560 people, including 43 children, according to the report, but did not result in any fatalities.

Monday's attack in London, outside the Finsbury Park Mosque, injured at least 10 people, and one person died, but it is unclear if his death was a direct result of the attack.

"The distinction between whether something is terrorism or a hate crime is often not very useful in this discussion," she said. "It's an artificial distinction."

The FBI defines a terrorist act as "a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

The bureau defines a hate crime as "a traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism, with an added element of bias."

Criticism of Trump's response to non-Muslim attacks

President Trump has frequently been criticized by human rights groups for not speaking out against the white supremacist contingent of his base more vociferously and for failing to respond promptly to violence that affects Muslims, rather than violence that is perpetrated by them.

Hooper criticized Trump's response to the mosque attack in London and to the killing of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in Virginia. She was attacked near the mosque she attended, in what appears to be a road-rage-related episode, according to police.

"His silence or his delay really sends a negative message to the American Muslim community that their lives and their safety are not as important as the lives and safety of other citizens," Hooper added.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the president's response to Monday's terrorist attack in London or attacks on Muslims in general.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an off-camera press briefing on Monday that the administration's "thoughts and prayers" were with the victims of the mosque attack in London and that Trump was receiving updates about it.

The president's Twitter account, which he frequently uses to denounce terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims, has been silent on the matter.