(SAN DIEGO, CA– 10/20/2023) – The California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) met with California Attorney General Rob Bonta and representatives from the newly formed San Diego for Palestine Coalition, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Muslim American Society-PACE (MAS-PACE), the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) and several other Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian organizations on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Islamic Center of San Diego. The meeting was held to discuss incidents of hate that Muslims, Palestinians, and Arabs throughout California have experienced since the recent tragic events in Gaza.
Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian rhetoric has been on the rise across the country, as have hate incidents targeting Muslim and Arab communities—including the six-year-old Palestinian American boy, Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was murdered in an Islamophobic attack by his family’s landlord last weekend in Chicago.
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CAIR-CA—which has offices in the Greater Los Angeles Area, San Francisco/Bay Area, Sacramento Valley/Central California, and San Diego—has received numerous direct reports of hate and bias, largely targeting students and employees. One employee was fired after his boss overheard him stating he was going to send money to relief organizations to support his family in Palestine. Other community members have reported being verbally threatened and physically assaulted.
In Los Angeles, students were verbally and physically threatened by masked men for attending a meeting on the situation in Palestine, and a 10-year-old was shown a flag of Israel and called a “terrorist” by classmates.
In a statement, CAIR-CA CEO Hussam Ayloush said:
“We welcome Attorney General Bonta’s proactive reaching out to the California Muslim community to learn about its concerns.
“California Muslims are increasingly anxious as we observe dangerous rhetoric that continues to dehumanize Palestinians and Muslims, leading to a rise in anti-Muslim incidents targeting students, employees, and everyday Muslims in their homes or on the street. Everyone deserves to be safe.”
In a statement, CAIR-LA Legal & Policy Director Amr Shabaik, Esq. said:
“Our offices across the state, as well as partner organizations across the country, have been inundated with calls from community members who have been victimized by hate crimes, hate incidents, school bullying, and workplace retaliation.
“We thank the Attorney General for reaching out to our community and look forward to working with his office to ensure that Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs, and other marginalized communities are protected across the state.”
At the meeting, Attorney General Bonta committed to having the California Department of Justice work with state law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of Muslims and all communities in California.
CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance 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 email@example.com