June 19, 2024

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Civil rights groups: Anti-semitism, Islamophobia on rise against American Jews, Muslims since Israel-Hamas war

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Muslim and Jewish civil rights groups say they’ve seen large increases in reports of harassment, bias and sometimes physical assaults against members of their communities since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

The Anti-Defamation League and the Council on American-Islamic Relations saw increases in reported instances, many involving violence or threats against protesters at rallies in support of Israel or in support of Palestinians over the last two weeks as war broke out between Israel and Hamas. Other attacks and harassment reported by the groups were directed at random Muslim or Jewish people in public.

A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Wednesday that the organization’s chapters and national office had received 774 reports of bias-related acts between Oct. 7 and Oct. 24. The national headquarters had 110 direct reports during that period, compared to 63 for all of August. The council’s leaders believe it’s the largest wave of complaints since December 2015, when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared his intent to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. in the wake of the San Bernadino mass shooting that left 14 people dead.

The reported acts since Oct. 7 include an Illinois landlord fatally stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy and wounding the boy’s mother, police say, as well as the arrest of a Michigan man after police say he asked people in a social media post to join him in hunting Palestinians.

“Public officials should do everything in their power to keep the wave of hate sweeping the nation right now from spiraling out of control,” said Corey Saylor, research and advocacy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Saylor noted that former President George W. Bush’s visit to a mosque after the 9/11 attacks had a calming effect on the backlash felt in Muslim communities. He called on President Joe Biden to visit with Americans who lost family members in Gaza.


Claudia Lauer, The Associated Press

2023-10-26 10:12:51

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