Jews faced most religious hate crimes in 2022, updated FBI data shows
As the ongoing Israel-Hamas war raises fears of anti-religious discrimination and hate worldwide, new FBI statistics paint a picture of hate crimes against Jews, Muslims, Black people and other US minorities.
In 2022, there were at least 11,634 hate crime incidents reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies, with anti-Black/African-American hate crimes the most common, comprising nearly a third of the reported total.
Anti-Jewish incidents were the most common religion-related hate crime, totalling 1,124 incidents.
“Today, the FBI released their annual statistics on hate crimes. Antisemitic hate crimes rose 25 percent from 2021 to 2022, and Antisemitism accounted for over half of all reported religion-based hate crimes,” Joe Biden said in a statement.
“To those Americans worried about violence at home, as a result of the evil acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas in Israel, we see you. We hear you,” he added. “And I have asked members of my team, including Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas and Attorney General Garland, to prioritize the prevention and disruption of any emerging threats that could harm Jewish, Muslim, Arab American, or any other communities during this time. My Administration will continue to fight Antisemitism and Islamophobia.”
Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs in the US, who faced a wave of post-9/11 discrimination and hate violence, experienced 431 hate crimes in 2022, according to the data.
The most common forms of hate crimes in the data were intimidation, property destruction, vandalism, and assault, while white people were the group most likely to commit the hate crimes on record.
Community leaders say Jewish and Palestinian communities in the US and beyond are already suffering hate-based incidents amid the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza.
The Department of Justice has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the 14 October death of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was allegedly stabbed to death by a landlord yelling anti-Muslim statements. The boy’s mother was also injured in the incident.
“This incident cannot help but further raise the fears of Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian communities in our country with regard to hate-fueled violence,” Justice Department officials said in a statement.
“No one in the United States of America should have to live in fear of violence because of how they worship or where they or their family come from,” the statement added.
Last week, a group of three men in New York waving Israeli flags and allegedly yelling anti-Palestinian remarks reportedly assaulted three men in a Brooklyn neighourhood with a large population of Yemeni, Syrian and Egyptian families, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“This moment is different,” Corey Saylor, research and advocacy director at CAIR, told The Guardian. “Right now there is an unusually vicious targeting of students that support Palestine, and the volume and intensity is something I haven’t witnessed before.”
Jewish communities in the US have also faced alleged hate-based violence and intimidation since the outbreak of the war.
A protester in New York was spotted holding up the image of a swastika, while another was seen holding the flag of a US-designated terror group, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors anti-semitism and other forms of hate-based violence.
Jewish people have also been harassed outside of their synagogues in the US over the war, according to the group.
In Fresno, California, police are investigating a stone thrown at a local synagoue.
Internationally, many were alarmed as Star of David graffiti appeared on the doors of homes in Berlin in recent days, in what was seen as a chilling reference to Germany’s Nazi past and an attempt to intimidate its present-day Jewish population.