By JORIE MEIL – Recently, the press has been burdened with reports of hate crimes towards many different religions, ethnicities, and races. Among the many victims has been the American Jewish and Muslim communities.
In the past two months the number of hate crimes committed in the U.S has risen dramatically. A hate crime is a crime that is motivated by prejudice towards an individual’s religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. The recent attacks have been mostly geared towards the Muslim and Jewish faiths. Muslim Mosques have been dismantled and threatened with gun violence. Jewish communities all over the country have collectively received over 190 acts of intolerance.
Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated, JCC’s (Jewish community centers) and schools have been threatened with bomb attacks, and buildings, statues, and synagogues have been vandalized with antisemitic hate symbols and messages. “I think the attacks against people based on religion are outrageous. I have friends that are Jewish and Muslim, these threats and attacks make me worry for my safety, exclaims freshman Alyssa McLaine.
One of the main threats posed to Jewish communities is the revival of bomb threats to Jewish schools and community centers. The largest wave of threats was on February 27, with 35 different locations potentially being put in danger in 18 different states, three of these being in York, Harrisburg, and Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. In one location, parents had to come pick up young, scared children from a local Walgreens because it had to be evacuated.
Another onslaught posed against the Jewish people is the destruction of Jewish cemeteries. Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis were vandalized and over 200 gravestones were destroyed.
The Muslim American people have also been subject to hate crimes. Some of these attacks include death threats sent to Muslim congress people, attempted violence towards mosques, and Muslim women being fired for wearing their hijabs. While the world is currently focusing on the acts of hate against the Jews, these things still go on daily.
All over the country people are being plagued with worry over their fates as Jewish citizens, and nothing is happening to relieve their stress. These incidents have basically been dismissed and deemed not important enough. President Trump said that the events were “horrible” but gave no plan of action of how he was going to help.
Many believe that while President Trump is not the direct cause for these crimes, he has created an atmosphere that legitimizes it, making comments about Muslims, Jews, and other minorities.. At one of his rallies, Trump stated, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Throughout this increase in hate crimes, Jews and Muslims are helping each other through this hard time. Muslim groups have raised thousands of dollars to help repair the Jewish cemeteries that were destroyed in Philadelphia and St. Louis. Muslim groups have raised over $20,000 to fix the damages that were done to the cemeteries, and Go Fund Me pages have been created to aid the ailing Jewish communities.
“I believe the hate crimes against Jews and Muslims are completely and utterly unacceptable. These threats cannot go on any longer and must be stopped. We must all try to stick together and help out our Jewish and Muslim friends through this difficult time,” says freshman Jannah Farag.
[Photo courtesy of JCC Association of North America]
Photo caption: Map of the bomb threats posed against Jewish community centers and schools