Don’t accept hate and anger as the norm in Chicago

Readers may have noticed something disturbing about the Friday print edition of the Sun-Times: Four pages in a row of reporting on unacceptable incidents of hate or hostility, all taking place right here in our city and suburbs. 

We — those of us who live in the Chicago area — are better than this. Or if not, we have to be.

Yes, we know that emotions and reflexive anger are running high, in response to tensions around the world and here at home. But lashing out at neighbors, or even strangers, is never the answer. 

Consider the news on page 3 of President Joe Biden’s television address regarding the wars in Israel and Ukraine. Biden’s speech included a mention of the fatal stabbing of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian American boy, and the attack on his mother allegedly by their landlord in the Plainfield area. 

“His name was Wadea,” Biden said. “Wadea. A proud American. A proud Palestinian American family. We can’t stand by and stand silent when this happens. We must without equivocation denounce antisemitism. We must also without equivocation denounce Islamophobia.”

Then, on page 4, the article titled “Middle East war fans flames of hare here,” with details about several antisemitic and anti-Muslim acts.

  • A Lombard man allegedly threatened to shoot two Muslim men at an apartment complex.
  • Chicago Police said an Israeli flag outside a Portage Park home was replaced with a Palestinian one that said “Palestine will be free, all Jerusalem to the sea.”
  • A “threatening hate letter” was sent by mail to an all-girls Muslim school in the southwest suburbs after which school officials canceled in-person classes Friday.

On page 5 was the news regarding an attorney in the Illinois comptroller’s office, Sarah Chowdhury, who was fired over antisemitic comments allegedly made on social media, including “Hitler should have eradicated all of you.” 

On page 6: another incident of hostility, this time against Ald. Julia Ramirez and a 21-year-old aide over a proposed winter tent camp for migrants in Brighton Park. The pair were attacked by protesters before police got them to a squad car. It was a sampling of the anger that has brewed, unjustifiably, against migrants in recent months.

In addition, Muslims have been reporting “death-threat level messages” to the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. 

Chicagoans, and the world as a whole, are living through hair-raising events. Those of us with the power to do so must stand up for all of those being hurt or maligned.

Hate should have no home in Chicago.

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