The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


Antisemitism, Islamophobia increase

A nationwide rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia has been reported by organizations that track hate against specific groups following the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Antisemitic incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault increased by 388 percent from Oct. 7 to Oct. 23 compared to the same time period last year, according to a press release issued by the Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-hate organization, on Oct. 24.

The Anti-Defamation League declined requests for an interview due to a high volume of other commitments.

“The events of Oct. 7 opened up a door where people have felt empowered and emboldened to share their true feelings and their true selves,” said Addie Goodman, CEO of Jewish Community Centers of Chicago. “And we are seeing something that’s always been there, people didn’t suddenly become antisemitic, and there was always the antisemitism, but what we’re experiencing now is the display of something that has always been present.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, received 1,283 requests for help or complaints about bias in Muslim people’s lives from Oct. 7 to Nov. 4.

“If you look at a comparable four-week period in 2022, [1,283] represents a 216 percent increase,” said Corey Saylor, research and advocacy director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Islamophobia is pretty baked into American society at this point that it just needs something that flips the switch back to on, and the events in the Middle East certainly did that,” Saylor said.

According to Demetri Morgan, associate professor of higher education at Loyola University Chicago, it is important to be patient and let people go through emotional processes to get to a place where they can be open to discussing the layers of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Students can combat the rise in hate by keeping an open mind, trying to understand other viewpoints and showing compassion.

“The most important thing is [to] use your voice,” said Saylor. “It is very important that the unfortunate hostile political climate not intimidate people away. Speaking up on behalf of humanity and justice is never a bad thing … It’s also very important to not indulge in Islamophobia, anti-Arab bigotry, antisemitism, racism. All this is way too important for that kind of pettiness.”

Torch staff members asked a Jewish student about her experiences with antisemitism and a Muslim student about her experiences with Islamophobia. Below the photos are their responses, which were edited for length and clarity.

Supporters of Israel gather for an organized rally in downtown Northbrook on Nov. 12. The rally was organized to give voice to Israeli hostages and demand their release. Photo by Marissa Fernandez
Supporters of Palestine gather in Water Tower Park in Chicago on Nov. 24 to protest the United States giving financial aid and support to Israel. Photo by Faith Sharpe

Jewish student’s experience

After sharing an Instagram story about an Israeli friend who was killed on Oct. 7, some of senior Jocelyn Goldman’s followers replied to her.

“The way people responded was not necessarily how I was expecting because I’m like, ‘That was a person, he had a family, he had a community, he had a life,’ and people just disregarded it or made excuses,” Goldman said.

Goldman has noticed antisemitism occurring on college campuses, which is influencing her decision on where to go, she said.

“I’m definitely double-checking that a school I’m interested in has support and a community of Jewish students, so I know I wouldn’t be alone if the situation were to occur,” Goldman said.

Goldman has not experienced much antisemitism in Northbrook or at Glenbrook North, she said.

“I think in Northbrook it’s a pretty safe place for Jewish people,” said Goldman. “I think there’s a bigger [Jewish] community and there’s just more education and awareness on the fact that we exist.”

Goldman speaks out against antisemitism by posting on social media and using her voice to educate people who will listen, but one of the most important things for her is openly practicing Judaism, she said.

“If you’re afraid to go to synagogue … or show that you’re Jewish, then you’re letting them win,” Goldman said.

Muslim student’s experience

After the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, senior Laiba Nadeem is more conscious of people staring at her wherever she goes.

“Being someone who is visibly Muslim in a place with only [a few] other hijabi students, I feel out of place a lot of the time,” Nadeem said.

“Before [Oct. 7], they wouldn’t really care and no one really looked up or anything,” said Nadeem. “But it became such a thing. I feel like everyone’s staring no matter where I go. I know what they’re thinking and stuff, they just look at me and stare at me weird.”

After Oct. 7, Nadeem has posted more about Palestine on social media, and some of her followers have responded to her posts.

“People will mostly say things about my stance on Palestine and will decide for me what my views on religions are, for example, by calling me an antisemite,” Nadeem said.

In response to one of Nadeem’s anti-Israel posts, one of her followers swiped up and responded, she said.

“She was trying to use the fact that I go to GBN against me,” said Nadeem. “She was like, ‘Oh, … How can you say this? … Like, figure out your audience.'”

Nadeem chooses to ignore hateful comments and continues to express her beliefs, she said.

“I know where I stand and I’m firm with it,” said Nadeem. “And if I’m going to be so open about where I stand, I’m going to stick with it.”

About the Contributors
Marissa Fernandez, Executive Opinions Editor, Copy Editor
Marissa Fernandez (‘24) is the Executive Opinions Editor and a Copy Editor and has been a member of Torch since her sophomore year. Previous positions: Staff Writer (21-22), Opinions Editor (22-23), Copy Editor (22-23).
Faith Sharpe, Features Editor
Faith Sharpe (‘24) is a Features Editor and has been a member of Torch since her sophomore year. Previous positions: Staff Writer (21-22), Features Editor (22-23).