Emgage Action response to murder of a six-year-old Palestinian American boy and rising hate crimes against Muslim and Arab Americans

We are devastated by the horrific killing of a six-year-old Palestinian American boy, and the wounding of his mother, that took place in Plainfield, Illinois this weekend. Yesterday, we joined other organizations in urging President Biden to condemn this shocking crime, which has been deemed a hate crime by authorities. The President has since issued this statement condemning the crime and rejecting Islamophobia and all forms of hatred. We welcome and support his call, but more needs to be done.

We are seeing a rise in violence and inflammatory rhetoric, including Islamophobia, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry that is reminiscent of the hate directed at our communities after 9/11. Reckless and bigoted language used by many media outlets and politicians has contributed to this rise, as innocent Palestinians and those who speak to their suffering are dehumanized and canceled.

We call on all elected officials, leaders, and media sources to refrain from one-sided messaging that only serves to spread misinformation and sow division. As we have seen, such messaging can lead to violence and the death of innocents, in the United States and abroad.

We grieve for Wadea Al-Fayoume. We pray for his mother Hanaan Shahin, the entire family, and their loved ones. We remain resolute in our call for the United States to use its influence to encourage de-escalation and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The tragedy unfolding there has already killed, injured, and displaced thousands, including hundreds of children. Further violence will only lead to more innocent lives lost and further destabilization – both in Gaza and across the world.