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Jewish, Muslim organizations seeing highest-ever rates of discrimination in San Diego

Jewish, Muslim organizations seeing highest-ever rates of discrimination in San Diego
Posted at 8:37 PM, Apr 19, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Jewish and Muslim organizations say 2023 was the worst year on record for antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in the United States. A majority of those instances happened after Oct. 7.

Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah, who has been at SDSU's Chabad House for 23 years, said antisemitic acts against his congregation have increased and that this is the worst that he has seen.

“To see this happen here, this kind of hatred and bigotry. It’s very surprising and very sad,” Boudjnah said.

The Anti-Defamation League says much of this is marked by the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war. It’s reporting that a majority of the 108 antisemitic incidents in San Diego last year occurred between Oct. 7 and the end of 2023.

“Not just people feeling unsafe, but people being verbally or physically attacked and degraded publicly here on campus,” Boudjnah said.

The Arab and Muslim community has also seen an unprecedented rise in discrimination. The Council on American Islamic Relations says last year, there was a 300% increase in complaints in San Diego. Most of them came after Oct. 7 and took place on college campuses.

“They don’t feel safe on campuses,” said Samar Ishmael with Students for Justice in Palestine at UCSD.

She says her classmates have been victims of discrimination since Oct. 7.

“The increased fear is knowing our voices aren’t being heard by our administrations and institutions, and it feels like nothing’s being done,” Ishmael said.

Boudjnah says many students have been afraid to display their Jewish identity. He continues to encourage his community to stand strong, just like the new menorah in front of his Chabad.

“That one small candle, a tiny light, can push away so much darkness," Boudjnah said.