US antisemitic, Islamophobic incidents surge with war, advocates say

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents including violent assaults and online harassment have spiked in the U.S. since the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on Oct. 7, two advocacy groups said Wednesday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it received 774 complaints of incidents motivated by Islamophobia and bias against Palestinians and Arabs from Oct. 7 to Tuesday. The group said this was the highest level since 2015.

The total was almost triple 2022's average number of complaints for a period of the same duration.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said its preliminary data showed a 388% rise in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. from Oct. 7 to Monday over the prior year. The group reported 312 incidents including harassment, vandalism and assault. About 190 of those were directly linked to the war between Israel and Hamas, ADL said.

CAIR cited an 18-year-old Palestinian man allegedly assaulted in Brooklyn; death threats against a mosque and a fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Muslim boy in Illinois, who U.S. authorities said was targeted for being Palestinian American.

ADL said complaints included violent messages, especially on online platform Telegram, and rallies where "ADL found explicit or strong implicit support for Hamas and/or violence against Jews in Israel."

The U.S. Justice Department has said it is monitoring rising threats against Jews and Muslims amid the conflict. President Joe Biden has condemned antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas' Oct. 7 attack killed over 1,400 people, Israel has said. Israel's air strikes since on Hamas-controlled Gaza have killed over 6,500 as of Wednesday, according to the health ministry in Gaza. Reuters was unable to verify those figures independently.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)