NYC Palestinian restaurant disconnects phone after ‘nonstop’ threatening voicemails, owner says

William of England
By William of England 8 Min Read

The tensions observe a well-recognized sample of crimes in opposition to Jewish and Muslim communities rising when battle erupts within the Middle East and Americans have been killed or taken hostage.

“We have a two pronged threat to American faith communities,” stated Brian Levin, founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernadino.

While it’s too quickly to say with certainty whether or not anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish crimes have elevated through the struggle, hate crimes total elevated within the U.S. final 12 months. In its annual report released Monday, the FBI estimated that hate crimes elevated by 7% to 11,634 circumstances in 2022 in comparison with the earlier 12 months. With 1,124 incidents, anti-Jewish assaults had been the second most reported hate crime, after anti-Black circumstances. There had been 158 reported incidents of anti-Muslim assaults, and 92 experiences of anti-Arab circumstances, in response to the report.

Civil rights organizations, nonetheless, consider that even earlier than the Hamas assaults in Israel, crime knowledge didn’t mirror actuality resulting from an absence of participation by native police departments and internalized concern among the many Muslim inhabitants, stated Robert McCaw, director of governmental affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In 2021, the Othering & Belonging Institute on the University of California, Berkeley, launched a examine through which 85% of those that had been subjected to Islamophobia stated they didn’t report it to authorities.

“The true number remains to be seen,” McCaw stated.

In probably the most troubling latest incidents, a landlord in Plainfield, Illinois, is accused of attacking a Palestinian American tenant and her son with a knife on Saturday, purportedly due to their Muslim religion, stabbing the 6-year-old boy to demise and injuring the mom. The sheriff, prosecutors and household all stated the boy and his mom had been focused for being Muslim. More particularly, prosecutors stated the owner was “angry … for what was going on in Jerusalem” and his spouse instructed police her husband feared they’d be attacked by individuals of Middle Eastern descent.

In Pennsylvania, a person was charged with felony ethnic intimidation after police stated he pointed a gun and yelled slurs at attendees of a pro-Palestinian rally close to the state Capitol on Friday. In Boston, the phrase “Nazis” was spray-painted throughout the signal for the Palestinian Cultural Center for Peace.

“There’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in everything that’s happening,” stated Abed Ayoub, nationwide government director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He stated the group has obtained greater than 100 experiences together with verbal harassment, threats, intimidation and bodily assaults.

“It’s very reminiscent of the early days of post-9/11, where people didn’t want to go outside, they didn’t want to send their kids to school,” he stated. “They’re just worried about being in public and being approached.”

In Dearborn, Michigan, which has the nation’s highest Muslim inhabitants per capita, neighborhood and religion leaders met exterior town’s police division Monday. The metropolis has seen a number of threats of violence in latest days, together with from a person accused of asking on social media if anybody in metro Detroit needed to “go to Dearborn & hunt Palestinians.”

“We have to understand that these issues that are overseas are not just overseas, they are very much also issues here,” stated Imran Salha, the imam of the Islamic Center of Detroit.

Historically, anti-Jewish hate crimes have elevated throughout violent Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, stated Levin, a professor emeritus at California State.

In March 1994, there was a spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes from 79 incidents to 147 a month after an American Israeli extremist opened hearth on Palestinian Muslims in a mosque, he stated, citing FBI statistics. In October 2000, anti-Jewish hate crimes within the U.S. surged from 81 to 204 in comparison with the month earlier than after a collection of violent protests in Arab villages in northern Israel. Levin noticed an analogous development in May 2021, significantly in cities with vital Jewish populations corresponding to New York and Los Angeles.

In California final week, flyers spreading anti-Jewish rhetoric had been left in neighborhoods and on automobiles within the metropolis of Orange. And in Fresno, police stated a person suspected of breaking home windows and leaving an anti-Jewish be aware at a bakery is also a “person of interest” within the vandalism of an area synagogue.

Julie Platt, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, stated synagogues and Jewish neighborhood facilities across the nation have been strengthening their safety applications, however that she doesn’t wish to see members of her neighborhood duck for canopy.

“I think the whole point of this is to terrorize us psychologically,” she stated. “As long as I hear of no credible threats, I believe we should live our Jewish lives.”

Several Palestinian Americans interviewed Friday in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a big Arab inhabitants stated the environment has been tense within the final week.

Jumana Alkaram stated she has not been personally threatened however that: “I know if I was to demonstrate my heritage or the Palestinian flag there would be some type of threat. Because the majority has the support of Israel and don’t have the full legit story about what’s happening in Gaza.”

In New York City, a Palestinian restaurant, Ayat, was pressured to disconnect its phone after receiving “nonstop” threatening voicemails, in response to co-owner, Abdul Elenani. The storefront encompasses a mural of a crying Palestinian and its menu consists of calls to “end the occupation.” On Friday, a person entered the eating room shouting “terrorist” on the individuals behind the counter, Elenani stated.

Still, the hostile reception was overshadowed by the assist he has obtained from his neighbors, lots of whom are Jewish and share his views about minimizing civilian deaths, he stated.

“In New York, we all live together, we work together, we grow together,” Elenani stated. “And we all want this violence to stop.”


Ramer reported from Concord, New Hampshire. Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Dearborn, Michigan; Deepa Bharath in Los Angeles; Jake Offenhartz, Noreen Nasir and Ayesha Mir and in New York; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Jim Salter in St. Louis, contributed to this report.

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