NEW YORK (PIX11) — Jews and Muslims in the tri-state area are on edge amid the escalating war in the Middle East.
There are mounting fears of hate crimes targeting the two religious communities.
Since the war started on Oct. 7, there has not been a dramatic rise in reported hate crimes in New York City. According to the NYPD, there’s been a drop in crimes against both religions this year. However, at the Anti-Defamation League, leaders are concerned about the bigger picture.
The Israel-Hamas conflict was mere hours old, and the hateful aggression began in Brooklyn. Surveillance video depicts two young men in Flatbush asking if a 14-year-old boy was Jewish before he was shoved to the sidewalk. Around the same time, they confronted a traditionally dressed Jewish man and kicked him in the stomach.
“We are very worried… that we are going to see a huge wave of antisemitic incidents,” said Scott Richman, the Regional Director of the ADL’s NY/NJ chapter.
It’s a similar fear with threats to the Islamic community as well. Clifton, New Jersey, salon owner Raed Odeh said he took a call from someone warning.
“We want to come burn you, your business, family. And they hang up,” Odeh said.
Some Muslims and Jews believe their plight is shared historically.
“So often it’s overlooked how intertwined the Jewish and Muslim communities are; we experience the same hatred,” said Palestinian American Jenan Matari.
On Monday, the FBI released its annual hate crime data. In New York, crimes against both religious groups experienced triple-digit rises in 2022. In New Jersey, antisemitism has spiked, and anti-Islamic crimes are up moderately.
Richman said the so-called “pyramid of hate” leads to dangerous behavior, already being seen nationwide.
“You don’t start at genocide. You start with micro-aggressions, then move to discrimination and violence,” Richman said.
According to the ADL, criminal and non-criminal acts of hate against Jews are now the highest ever recorded nationwide. And that was before the war began.