Detroit Evening Report: Michigan research institute examines impact of war in Gaza on religious minorities

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A male student sits in class at a desk alone with his head in his hand, while other students socialize behind him.

The Michigan and Washington, D.C.-based educational research group Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) this month released the third report in a three-part series about the impact of the war in Gaza on religious minorities in the U.S.

Since Oct. 7 and the ensuing crisis in Gaza, Muslim and Jewish Americans have reported a surge in bias incidents, according to the ISPU.

Erum Ikramullah, senior research project manager at ISPU, says the report analyzes a survey aimed to assess the views of Muslim and Jewish Americans, who are often perceived as on opposing sides of this crisis.  

She says the survey — rolled out between December 2023 and January 2024 — found both American Muslims and Jews experience higher levels of religious discrimination compared to the general American public.

When asked how often, if at all, they experienced discrimination in the past year because of their religion, the majority of Muslims (74%) and Jews (66%) reported experiencing some frequency of bias, according to the report. This compares to 39% of the general public.

The survey also showed that Muslims are more likely than Jewish Americans or the general public to experience religious discrimination “regularly,” whether in public places from strangers or at work/school from both peers or people in power.

Ikramullah said the report added a category to survey religious discrimination among Muslim students versus non-students. 

“84% of students say they experience religious discrimination in the last year compared to 66% of non-students. And again, that’s among Muslims,” Ikramullah said. “And then we look at it across various settings from people in authority, and it’s across the board, we find that it’s higher for students than non-students.”

Reporting by WDET’s Nargis Rahman.

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.
  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.