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War between Israel and Hamas raises fears about rising US hostility

War between Israel and Hamas raises fears about rising US hostility

The war between Israel and Hamas is raising fears about rising hostility across the United States

A fatal stabbing in Illinois, a gun pointed at protesters in Pennsylvania, vandalism at synagogues and harassment of staff at a Palestinian restaurant all are raising fears that the war between Israel and Hamas is sparking violence in the United States.

The tensions follow a familiar pattern of crimes against Jewish and Muslim communities rising when conflict erupts in the Middle East and Americans have been killed or taken hostage.

“We have a two pronged threat to American faith communities,” said Brian Levin, founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

While it's too soon to say with certainty whether anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish crimes have increased during the war, hate crimes overall increased in the U.S. last year. In its annual report released Monday, the FBI estimated that hate crimes increased by 7% to 11,634 cases in 2022 compared to the previous year. With 1,124 incidents, anti-Jewish attacks were the second most reported hate crime, after anti-Black cases. There were 158 reported incidents of anti-Muslim attacks, and 92 reports of anti-Arab cases, according to the report.