April 2, 2024
CAIR-LA Press Conference

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 04/2/2024) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today announced the publication of CAIR’s 2024 civil rights report, which reveals the highest number of complaints the organization has received in its 30-year-history.   

WATCH: CAIR-LA 2024 Civil Rights Report Press Conference  

Titled “Fatal: The Resurgence of Anti-Muslim Hate,” the report documents a total of 8,061 complaints in 2023. Nearly half of all complaints received were reported in the final three months of the year.   

The report notes that the 2023 wave of anti-Muslim incidents was a 56% increase over the previous year, surpassing even the period following the implementation of President Trump’s Muslim Ban, which saw a 32% increase over the previous year.     

Immigration and asylum cases comprised 20% of total complaints received in 2023. Employment discrimination (15%), education discrimination (8.5%), and hate crimes and incidents (7.5%) are among the highest reported categories.     

In its previous 2023 Civil Rights report, CAIR marked a first-ever decline in complaints reported to its offices. The report’s findings were considered an indication of progress toward mitigating the impact of Islamophobia in the U.S.   

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:     

“This dehumanization of Palestinians and Muslims by world leaders and our own government has led to a sharp increase in anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian sentiment, discrimination, and violence against members of our community. Our community has faced threats, intimidation, and harassment from individual actors, school administrators, teachers and professors, colleagues and supervisors, and local and federal government officials. 

“CAIR is committed to continuing to challenge this discrimination and all forms of hate. We have had success in protecting students in schools and universities, employees facing discrimination and harassment, and Muslims facing surveillance and discrimination by our own government. Despite these challenges, our community remains resilient, hopeful, and politically engaged, especially as it continues to challenge hate and advocate for an end to the genocide in Gaza and for a free Palestine.” 

In a statement, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Managing Attorney Dina Chehata, Esq. said:  

“Following Oct. 7, in the fourth quarter of 2023, we saw a 208% increase in bias incidents over the same period from the prior year. We also witnessed a 323% increase in employment discrimination and harassment, but perhaps the most significant number that has been deeply concerning is the rise of hate crimes and hate incidents that our community reported. 

“In 2022 we only had one hate crime reported from Oct. 7 to the end of the year, but when you look at the same period in 2023 following the events of Oct. 7, we saw 68 hate crimes and hate incidents reported to our office. This represents a staggering 6,700% increase. It’s especially concerning to me because we know that this number, as drastic as it is, likely doesn’t even capture the breadth of hate crimes and hate incidents the American Muslim community experiences.” 

In a statement, CAIR-LA Client Shoeb Mohammed said: 

“On Oct. 8 of last year, I was attacked within the seemingly secure confines of my apartment building in Hollywood. A man, armed and dressed in Israeli military merch, verbally, physically, and repeatedly attacked me. His aggression was sparked by nothing more than the word ‘Palestine’ emblazoned upon my hat—a simple, unadorned statement of geographical identity devoid of any political provocation. He launched into a tirade, assaulting me both physically and verbally with a fervor that belied a deep-seated hatred towards Muslims. The irony is that he called me a ‘terrorist’ as he escalated himself to physical violence, brandished a gun, subjected me to the indignity of being spat upon, and threatened to shoot me dead.  

“This hate crime, though deeply personal, is not an isolated aberration. And the man who attacked me is not a lone wolf. Throughout our country, violence against Muslims is trending, symptomatic of a society where divisive speech and misinformation breed tangible harm. These instances underscore the pressing need for us to critically evaluate our dialogue and the policies inspired by it.”  

In a statement, University of California, Irvine Student Ziena said: 

“After Oct. 7, there was both a heightening of engagement within our student organizing as well as increased aggression from Zionist actions within our college campuses. With the mainstream media frenzied against Palestinian resistance existence, our university systems imposed their role as imperial, settler-colonial institutions upon us. They refused to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the Zionist entity in Gaza. They engaged in counterinsurgent efforts against student activists through police violence and academic suspension.  

“These were vain attempts to repress the burgeoning anti-Zionist, anti-genocide movement that blossomed within the wake of these tragedies in Gaza, shared across not only Muslim and Arab students, but supported further by our join struggle partners, as this is a fight against U.S. imperial violence.”  

The 2024 report also details dozens of anti-Muslim incidents that occurred throughout the U.S. in 2023. In December, a teacher threatened to beat and behead a seventh-grade Muslim student in Georgia after the student asked about the teacher’s Israeli flag. The teacher was overheard, in part, threatening to “slit [the student’s] god***n throat” and “cut her head off” by several students and witnesses.    

The report also documents continued efforts to challenge the federal government’s watchlist in 2023, including a lawsuit with a dozen plaintiffs seeking an end to the government’s secret watchlist that almost exclusively targets Muslims for harassment and humiliation when they travel.   

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.   

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Digital Communications Manager Enjy El-Kadi, (714) 851-4851 or eelkadi@cair.com