CAIR reports ‘Unprecedented’ number of Islamophobic incidents; White House announces strategy to combat it

Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported Thursday that there has been an ‘unprecedented’ increase in complaints of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bias in the month since the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas.

The advocacy group reported that there were 1,283 requests for help and reports of bias from 10/7 to 11/4, a 216 percent increase over the previous year.

“It’s actually been beyond crisis and into appalling at this point,” said Corey Saylor, Research and Advocacy Director at CAIR.

As the Israel and Hamas war continues, the White House says the conflict has been fueling a rise in Islamophobic incidents across the country.

In response to the rising number of incidents, the first ever national strategy to counter Islamophobia was announced earlier this month by the Biden administration.

“This strategy will be a comprehensive and detailed plan to protect Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim from hate, bigotry and violence, and to address the concern that some government policies may discriminate against Muslims,” said Vice President Kamala Harris in a video posted to Instagram.

Saylor said CAIR has been seeing a flood of requests for help since the war began.

“And these have been everything from, for instance, the murder of a six year old boy in Chicago. We have multiple incidents in which vehicles have been used to attempt to ram protesters or actually at them. We have multiple incidents in which people have been threatened with murder,” he said.

In Congress, Montana Representative Ryan Zinke introduced a bill that would expel Palestinians from the U.S.

In a release, the congressman’s office says the bill would “prevent Palestinian terrorists from abusing the United States’ legal immigration system… and is necessary to keep Americans safe.”

In response, Muslim Representatives André Carson, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib said in a statement that “using the full power of the state to target and persecute a particular ethnic group or nationality is fascism and pure bigotry.”

Saylor says the bill is an example of a class of people being targeted for no reason other than their place of birth.

“It’s really time for us as a country to get beyond that and live up to our own values. And the notion of expelling people because they were born in a certain place, I think should disqualify you from public office, to be honest,” he said.

Contrasting to Representative Zinke’s legislation, Senator Dick Durbin was joined by more than 100 lawmakers in urging President Biden to take action, to ensure Palestinians are not forced to leave the U.S.