University of Connecticut Muslim students suffer violent threats related to Israel-Gaza war
Muslim students at the University of Connecticut have been the target of violent threats linked to the Israel-Gaza war, and they are demanding protection.
During a news conference on Thursday, a former leader of a pro-Palestine campus group played a voicemail she received that contained a racial slur.
Additionally, the university’s Muslim Student Association reported that they received a derogatory email mocking deceased Palestinians.
These messages were reported to campus and state police as well as the FBI.
The University of Connecticut, also known as UConn, stated that it “unequivocally condemns Islamophobia, just as it condemns antisemitism and all forms of hatred,” according to a school representative.
Since the attacks by Hamas on October 7th, Muslims and Jewish groups in the US have seen a significant increase in incidents of hate and harassment during the war that has resulted in thousands of deaths.
Former UConn student Lena Maarouf reported that although she graduated in 2022, her phone number is still listed on the website for the group she once led, Students for Justice in Palestine.
Jeopardy ensued after a man from an Oklahoma area code left a voicemail in which he labeled her a “terrorist,” and used a racial slur while threateningly saying: “I can’t wait to see you dead.”
entic email came from a Yahoo email domain.
During the news conference on the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut, Ms. Maarouf stated, “The Muslim community does not feel supported, the Palestinian community does not feel supported. UConn needs to step up.”
Muslim student leaders and the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), a Muslim civil rights group, urged the university to provide educational programs about the conflict and Islam while securing Muslim students.
“No young person seeking an education should feel threatened because of their race, religion, background or political views,” said Farhan Memon, chairperson of Cair’s Connecticut chapter.
UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz acknowledged the concern about the messages in a statement issued.
Last month, the Anti-Defamation League reported a 400% increase in anti-Semitic incidents, including harassment, vandalism, and assaults following the 7 October attacks by Hamas.
Cair reported 774 complaints in the weeks after the 7 October Hamas assault on Israel, a significant increase compared to 63 reports in August.
The incidents included harassment, threats, use of weapons, and a knife attack outside Chicago resulting in the killing of a six-year-old boy and seriously injuring his mother.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced that he is convening a meeting of university security officials to address hate crimes on college campuses across the state.