On Monday night several men gathered at the Muhammad Ali Islamic Center for a class.
It’s their faith that sometimes makes many in the Muslim community targets.
The Imam of the mosque, Oumar Diaby shared a terrifying experience.
“One time I was waiting for my train on the subway someone came to me because I’m wearing my Islamic garment. He yelled at me go back to your country. Here is my country,” says Diaby
The mosque was one of several locations across the city non-profit organization the Muslim Community Network visited and to conduct surveys. They found hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise.
On Monday, the organization gathered on the steps of City Hall to present their findings as they try to raise awareness and prevent more crimes from happening.
“In order to prevent hate, we need to educate,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Aniqa Nawabi.
MCN surveyed more than 200 Muslims and found 76% of those surveyed had witnessed a hate crime. Meanwhile, 49% said they had been a victim themselves and nearly 44% of those surveyed between the ages of 10 and 18 years old said they experienced a hate crime in 2019.
Student Yyra Takat was at City Hall to share an experience she had several years ago.
“I was in the first grade when I received a death threat from a classmate. I was in a small classroom of 14, including myself, plus the teacher. I was the only Muslim in the class,” said Takat.
What this report found is consistent with statistics from the NYPD. So far this year, 18 hate crimes against Muslims have been reported compared to six reported during the same time last year – representing a 200% increase.
The organization partners with other groups to lead efforts to educate more New Yorkers, but they say they need more support.
“We require more funding to empower these groups to continue doing the education work. And to continue working with families and individuals who have experienced hate crimes,” said MCN Board Chair Dr. Debbie Almontaser. “If this work does not get supported, then we are letting down all those individuals who are targets of hate.”
The organization also hopes to see City Council pass a resolution that would require the Department of Education to include religious diversity in curriculum, as well as professional development to educators for all grade levels.