Record rise reported in anti-Muslim incidents in US in 2023

Friends and family hold vigil for Wadea al-Fayoume, a Palestinian American boy killed in a hate crime in Illinois amid rising attacks against Muslims following the Israel war on Gaza. (File Photo)

Discrimination and attacks against Muslims and Palestinians in the United States have reached an all-time high, with over 8,000 incidents reported in 2023, fueled by increasing Islamophobia during the Israeli war on Gaza.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report indicating a significant surge of 56% in reported cases, marking the highest figure since the organization's inception almost three decades ago.

According to the report, 3,600 anti-Muslim hate incidents out of the total 8,061 complaints were reported between October and December alone, reversing the positive trend observed in 2022 when complaints had dropped for the first time.

Incidents in the initial nine months of 2023 averaged 500 per month but spiked to almost 1,200 per month in the final quarter.

"The primary force behind this wave of heightened Islamophobia was the escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine in October 2023," the report said.

The United States has seen a series of disturbing attacks targeting individuals of Palestinian descent, including the fatal October stabbing of 6-year-old Palestinian American Wadea al-Fayoume in Illinois, the November shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Vermont, and the February stabbing of a Palestinian American man in Texas.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian demonstrations have surged in the United States and across the world in recent months with college campuses becoming a focal point for these protests.

“Employers, universities, and schools were among the primary actors suppressing speech by those who sought to vocally oppose Israel’s genocidal onslaught on Gaza and call attention to Palestinian human rights, particularly Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians,” the report read.

The report has also brought to attention the actions taken by various schools to ban Palestinian-affiliated student groups in response to the genocide in Gaza, as well as reports of job seekers facing obstacles due to their support for Palestinians.

Reports from human rights advocates worldwide also indicate a surge in Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian bias.

Israel waged its genocidal war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed 32,845 Palestinians and injured 75,392 others.

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