October 30, 2023
For the past several weeks, communities across the U.S. have faced a terrifying escalation of hate in the form of harassment, threats, and violence. Countless Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, and Jewish Americans are living in fear – with seemingly no end in sight.
The hate has reached such levels of horror that even young children are being harmed in unthinkable ways. In suburban Chicago, 6-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed to death by his family’s landlord as he sickeningly said, “You Muslims must die.” And in New York City, a 9-year-old, whose name remains private, was threatened by a man with a knife who yelled, “I will kill you Jew.”
These are only two among many harrowing antisemitic, Islamophobic, and anti-Arab acts of hate being reported day after day by community groups and law enforcement around the country. Within our Asian American community, South Asians and Sikhs – often perceived as Arab or Muslim – are also facing more hate-motivated threats and attacks. And some community members, including Asian Muslims, are sharing stories of intimidating FBI visits to their homes and mosques.
We are seeing chilling signs that the nation is barreling towards a disturbing repeat of the post-9/11 era, when millions of Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Sikh and Muslim Americans endured overwhelming hate and discrimination, including government-sanctioned racial profiling, warrantless surveillance, and unjust mass deportation. Elected officials must take immediate action to safeguard our civil liberties and enact proactive measures to protect vulnerable communities.
Equally important is a broader affirmation that recognizing the humanity and suffering of one group of people must not negate nor minimize the humanity and suffering of another. The moment we fail to value the inherent dignity of each human being is the moment we risk devolving into an endless cycle of vengeance. Violence only begets more violence, and hate only begets more hate.
This is why we condemn the atrocious Hamas attack that took the lives of more than 1,400 Israelis and resulted in the violent kidnapping of hundreds – many of whom are still being held hostage and should be safely returned to their families. This is why we also condemn the Israeli government’s ongoing destruction of Gaza, which has already taken the lives of more than 8,000 Palestinians – nearly half of them children – and displaced roughly a million more. Further, we must fully recognize and condemn the decades-long occupation and use of military force against Palestinian people.
Asian American and Pacific Islander histories teach us that the causes of hate in the U.S. often transcend national borders: the incarceration of Japanese Americans during the second World War, the Chinese Exclusion Act and Asiatic Barred Zone Act that separated generations of families, the colonization and dispossession in the Pacific Islands, the refugee experience of Southeast Asians fleeing war and genocide. These are but a few examples of how contextualizing hate explains not only why and how we have been dehumanized, but also identifies solutions to stop and prevent it.
Today, ending this new surge of bias-motivated hate in the United States is inextricably tied to ending violence in Gaza. We join international calls for humanitarian aid, the de-escalation of armed conflict in the region, and an immediate ceasefire – because the safety and well-being of so many, both here and abroad, depend on it.
As we echo these growing calls, Stop AAPI Hate will remain focused on what we are best positioned to do. We will be redoubling efforts to combat language, stereotypes, and narratives that dehumanize people. We will work to hold our elected officials and other public figures accountable when they employ bigoted rhetoric or propose domestic policies that scapegoat whole communities. We will extend support to community groups directly serving those experiencing this new surge in hate. We will share insights from our reporting center on how communities, including Asian Muslims, Sikhs, and non-Muslim South Asians, are being impacted.
And as hard as it will be, we will work to ground our outrage and demands for justice in a vision of the world that never loses sight of our shared humanity.
We encourage Asians and Asian Americans who have experienced any act of hate in the U.S. — including racial profiling, verbal harassment, and other attacks based on religion, ethnicity, national origin, or race — to report to us here so we can track how our communities are currently being impacted.