The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) received a total of 3,578 complaints of bias and discrimination from October to December 2023, according to data released by the organization Monday.
This represents a 178% increase in complaints compared to a similar period the previous year, the organization said.
The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization said the US has experienced a “relentless” wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
Corey Saylor, CAIR research and advocacy director, said it’s crucial the public recognizes not only the rise in anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian incidents happening across the country, but also the emotional impact these incidents have on local communities.
“The numbers say one thing, but as someone who works on these cases, particularly in October, we were completely shut down with the incoming wave of complaints, intaking people and starting to try to help them out,” Saylor said.
“I think that it’s always crucial to remember that Islamophobia, anti-Arab bias, anti Semitism, and racism does not contribute to ending the violence,” Saylor said.
Though the organization has described the number of bias incidents as “staggering,” Saylor said he also recognizes that many more incidents likely go uncounted because people are afraid to speak out.
“In many cases, Muslims are afraid to reach out to law enforcement, they often also just don’t know where to report it,” he said. “And then the other thing that we’ve found is that the community oftentimes is simply so desensitized, they think it’s normal … All of that is very unfortunate.”
The three highest categories of complaints the organization said it received were employment discrimination, hate crimes and incidents, and education discrimination.
Saylor called on American political leaders on both sides of the aisle to demand an end to bias and discrimination.
“What we’re trying to help people understand is that what’s going on in the Middle East, impacts us here. And what our leadership here says, impacts these communities.”
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