ATHENS, Ga. - Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise in Georgia and many Muslim and Jewish Americans are on edge.
A Muslim University of Georgia student who spoke with FOX 5 didn’t want to reveal his name. He worries he’ll be the target of Islamophobia hostility. "It’s very scary," the student said. "To have to worry about hate for our religion is concerning for sure."
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, National Deputy Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says incidents of anti-Muslim hate have spiked across the nation and in the southeast since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas.
"Our organization has received 774 complaints in the 20 days after Oct. 7. That marks a 245% increase over the same period of time last year," Mitchell said. "We’re hearing from students, protesters, employees, doctors who are being harassed, threatened, doxed, even physically attacked."
Ryan Pelfrey, the Associate Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League’s southeast region, says antisemitism has risen dramatically.
"Reports of antisemitism have increased 388%," Pelfrey said. "Harassment, assault and vandalism. There were some pretty vile messages projected onto the CNN building and on an interstate pass over."
Many Muslim Americans and Jewish Americans feel they’re under attack. A man stabbed and killed a 6-year-old Muslim boy in Illinois. Jewish students at Cornell University in upstate New York have been targets of threats of a mass shooting. And hate groups have tossed antisemitic flyers onto lawns across metro Atlanta. FBI chief Christopher Wray calls the levels of antisemitism "historic."
"We would like to see everyone take a breath and be able to have the difficult conversations and be able to lead with humanity and discuss these issues calmly," Pelfrey said.
"We must counter hate whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia or anti-Palestinian racism. All of it is unacceptable," Mitchell said.