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Nearly 180 percent spike in anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian incidents in US: Report

Since 7 October, most complaints involved employment discrimination, hate crimes and education discrimination
Women watch as Palestinian activists hold a press conference outside of the UN in New York City, on 26 January 2024 (AFP)

Incidents of discrimination, bias and hate targeting Muslims and Palestinians in the United States increased by 178 percent in the three months following the 7 October Hamas-led attacks on Israel, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) said on Monday. 

The Muslim advocacy group said it received 3,578 complaints during the last three months of 2023 since the Israel-Palestine war began. 

In the period from October to December, the majority of the reported complaints fell into three main categories: 19 percent were employment discrimination cases; 13 percent were hate crimes and hate incidents; and 13 percent of the instances were discrimination in educational environments.

“In the face of relentless hate and bogus smears, American Muslims, Arabs and a broad coalition of Jewish, Christian, African American, Asian Americans, and others continue calling for justice for Palestine,” Cair research and advocacy director Corey Saylor said.

“This coalition knows the way to stop the hate is to end the apartheid, occupation, and genocide occurring in Palestine.”

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In early 2023, Cair reported that 2022 showed the first-ever drop in incoming complaints to the organisation since it started tracking data in 1995. But the events on 7 October changed that. 

At least 26,637 Palestinians have been killed and 65,387 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza since the war began, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement on Monday.

In the past 24 hours, 215 Palestinians were killed and 300 injured, the ministry added.

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In October, a six-year-old Palestinian-American was fatally stabbed 26 times and his mother seriously wounded in the US, in an attack officials say was linked to the ongoing Israel-Palestine war and because they identified as Muslim.

Wadea al-Fayoume, a six-year-old boy, had been stabbed 26 times and had a 12-inch serrated military knife with a seven-inch blade lodged in his body.

In December, three Palestinian-American college students were speaking Arabic and wearing keffiyehs, a scarf synonymous with Palestinian solidarity, and were en route to dinner before they were shot by a gunman in Burlington, Vermont.

One of them is now paralysed from the chest down and may not be able to walk again.

“Despite this disturbing wave of bias targeting the Muslim, Arab-American and Palestinian communities, we are witnessing an impressive resilience in the face of bigotry,” Cair national executive director Nihad Awad said on Monday.

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