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Community network survey results reveal Muslims in NYC dealing with racism, threats at early ages

Survey: Muslims in NYC dealing with racism, threats at early ages
Survey: Muslims in NYC dealing with racism, threats at early ages 02:14

NEW YORK -- Disturbing new numbers show that anti-Muslim activity appears to be growing in the city.

According to the Muslim Community Network, more than 26 percent of Black Muslims and nearly 32 percent of Asian Muslims experienced or saw a hate crime in the first half of this year.

And as CBS2's Leah Mishkin reported Monday, the incidents can start as early as elementary school.

"It was like really difficult for me," a teenager named Yyra said.

She was only 6 years old when another student threatened her because of her race and religion.

"He told me that he was going to one day come to my house and he was going to murder me as I was sleeping," Yyra said.

In the fourth grade, she said that same student told her his father, who was a cop, would deport her family.

"He'd like accuse me of being a terrorist," Yyra said.

The Muslim Community Network surveyed 116 city Muslims in 2019 and found that 43.5 percent of 10- to 18-year-old respondents said they experienced or witnessed a hate crime.

The Network wants the City Council to reintroduce and pass Resolution 1257, which would allow the Department of Education to introduce religious diversity courses into the curriculum.

"And provide professional development training to educators. The hate crimes is not just coming from youth to youth. It's also educators' lack of knowledge about the religions," advocacy program manager Ajifanta Marenah said.

Of the 100 New York City Muslims surveyed in 2022, nearly half, 49 percent, said they were victims of a hate crime, and 76 percent said they witnessed a hate crime.

"People pulling off students' hijabs, spitting on someone, mostly verbal abuse, calling someone a terrorist," Marenah said.

Leaders stood on the steps of City Hall on Monday to shine a spotlight on the rise in hate crimes across the country and advocated for change.

"Not just hate crimes against Muslims, but anti-religious hate crimes across the board. Hate crimes against Jews, against our Sikh partners. Hate crimes against the Asian community," Marenah said.

Yyra, now 15, shared her story, hoping laws will be signed so her younger siblings never have to experience what she did growing up.

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