A U.S.-based rights advocacy group condemned anti-Muslim comments made by Israel’s new consul-general in New York, who urged New Yorkers to “wake up” against what he called an alleged “radical Muslim occupation.”

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) condemned Ofir Akunis’s statement made in an interview with the New York Post.

Akunis likened New York’s situation to cities like London, Malmo and Paris, which he described as being under the occupation of “radical Muslims,” urging New Yorkers to act before it was too late.

In a statement, CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said: “This false ‘wake up’ call is in reality a call to hatred and violence targeting New York Muslims and Arabs, and those perceived to be Muslim and Arab-American.”

Nasher emphasized that Akunis’ “false and hate-filled remarks should be repudiated by all political and religious leaders.”

She also highlighted the rise in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in the US, pointing to the highest number of complaints received by CAIR in its 30-year history.

According to a civil rights report released by CAIR’s national office earlier this year, they received 8,601 complaints in 2023, with half of them coming after Oct. 7, 2023. This was described as “the highest number of complaints received in CAIR’s 30-year history.”

In the interview, Akunis also referred to protests against Israel’s attacks on Gaza, claiming that antisemitism he witnessed in New York was “the worst ever” since Jews began arriving in the United States in large numbers in the late 19th century.

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