CAIR-LA report finds record number of anti-Muslim hate since Oct. 7 attacks – Orange County Register

On October 8, 2023, Shoeb Mohammed was physically and verbally assaulted in the lobby of his Hollywood apartment building, wearing a hat with “nothing more than the word Palestine emblazoned on my hat – a simple, unadorned, devoid declaration of geographic identity.” of any element. political provocation.

Mohammed shared his story a few months later during a press conference on Tuesday, April 2, denouncing the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. The man who attacked him was armed, “dressed in Israeli military clothing.”

“He launched into a tirade, physically and verbally attacking me with a fervor that belied a deep-seated hatred of Muslims,” Mohammed said. “The irony is that he called me a ‘terrorist’ when he escalated into physical violence, brandished a gun, subjected me to the indignity of being spat on and threatened to bring me down. »

Mohammed shared his story at the Anaheim office of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-LA. The nonprofit, the nation’s largest Islamic advocacy group, presented the findings of its annual civil rights report titled “Fatal: The Resurgence of Anti-Muslim Hatred.”

The report documents the “worst wave of anti-Muslim bigotry” the organization has seen in its 30-year history, according to Amr Shabaik, CAIR-LA’s legal and policy director.

Shabaik and other CAIR-LA leaders say the sharp rise in Islamophobia follows the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. In response to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023 and the hostage taking, Israeli forces continued to bombard Gaza, a move that many advocates – including CAIR – call a genocide of the Palestinian people.

On the other hand, reports of anti-Semitism have also increased since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Anti-Muslim hate incidents made headlines in Illinois when a Palestinian boy was killed by his landlord, weeks after the Hamas attack.

And on Tuesday, World Central Kitchen’s efforts to provide food to Palestinians in Gaza were disrupted after an Israeli bombing killed seven food aides.

City leaders in Los Angeles and Orange counties have faced increased pressure to take an official stance and call for a ceasefire, including in Santa Ana, Pasadena and El Monte.

Shabaik said more incidents of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred have been reported across the state.

“Students have been harassed, threatened, harassed and intimidated for advocating in support of Palestinian human rights deliberations,” he said.

At Tuesday’s press conference, a University of California, Irvine student named Ziena claimed that students organizing events and actions in support of Palestinian liberation had faced “increased aggression.” ” on the campus.

“While the mainstream media was frantic against the existence of Palestinian resistance, our university systems imposed their role on us as imperial and colonial institutions,” Ziena said. “They refused to recognize the atrocities committed by the Zionist entity in Gaza. They engaged in counterinsurgent efforts against student activists using police violence and suspension of studies.

CAIR recorded 8,061 reports of anti-Muslim hate across the country in 2023, a 56% increase from its last report in 2022.

Officials said the 2023 wave of incidents surpassed the period following the travel ban on Muslim countries implemented under the Trump administration in 2020 – a 32% increase from the year former.

Reported anti-Muslim hate crimes saw a 419% increase, while employment discrimination saw a 130% increase and education complaints saw a 219% increase, according to Shabaik. Half of these reported hate crimes occurred in the two months immediately following the October 7 attack.

“Anti-Muslim hatred has been motivated and fueled by the use of anti-Muslim rhetoric to justify violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the silencing of Palestinian voices here in America,” Shabaik said.

From October 7, 2022 through the end of this year, the nonprofit organization reported one anti-Muslim hate incident. But in 2023, anti-Muslim hatred saw a 6,700% increase — with 68 incidents reported specifically to CAIR-LA, according to CAIR civil rights attorney Dina Chehata on Tuesday.

Chehata said it is very likely that these numbers are higher, as there are often incidents that go unreported.

“This is particularly concerning to me because we know that this number, as drastic as it is, probably does not even capture the scale of hate crimes and incidents experienced by the American Muslim community.”

Chehata spoke to people who have been fired for expressing pro-Palestinian views, people of Palestinian descent who have been punished for speaking out about their people, and parents of kindergarten students to grade 12 who were victims of physical bullying. and verbally.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, called these “atrocities” “in tandem with a well-orchestrated campaign of anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim rhetoric by Israeli officials.”

“This dehumanizing language has been echoed and reflected in the statements and actions of American politicians, including the Biden administration. »

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued recommendations for U.S. officials to address growing trends of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hatred – including calling for a permanent ceasefire, respecting the freedom of expression on Palestine in schools, offices and universities and suspending the use of the FBI watch list. CAIR said the list “unfairly targeted the Muslim community for surveillance,” subjecting them to “harassment, surveillance and intimidation” since the September 11 attacks.

Shoeb Mohammed, who was personally attacked, urged people to avoid misinformation and criticize dialogue and anti-hate policies.

“Across our country, anti-Muslim violence is a trend, symptomatic of a society where divisive rhetoric and misinformation create tangible harm… Insha’Allah, we will navigate a future marked not by division and contempt, but through harmony and mutual understanding.

CAIR-LA officials urge anyone to report anti-Muslim hate incidents at or call 714-776-1177.

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