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The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

Combating Hatred: the Fight Against the Rise of Antisemitism and Islamophobia 

Ben Mater on Unsplash
Building inclusive and diverse communities provides a safe space for all.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are prominent issues in the United States. Rates of antisemitic and Islamophobic acts have soared over the past several months, according to CBS News. 

Instances like these have also increased significantly in school environments. NBC reports that at least 73% of Jewish college students in the U.S. have experienced or seen antisemitism this school year alone. According to Inside Higher Ed, 56% of Jewish students and 52% of Muslim students feel that they are in personal danger because of their support of one side or another in recent conflicts in the Gaza region. 

The rise of these issues documented on college campuses is concerning. How much time will pass before news agencies report that U.S. high schools are reporting similar occurrences?

Mona Habayeb ‘24

Several Good Counsel students and faculty/staff have reported witnessing antisemitic and Islamophobic acts within the past few months on and off campus.

Jewish student Abigail Klubis ‘25 reports witnessing “a lot of antisemitism in social media

Abigail Klubis ‘25 (Evan Brown ’25)

and the news…people comparing Hitler to the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu.” Klubis states that “even students at GC are prone to get pulled into this mentality and often can form opinions only [from viewing] these antisemitic posts.” 

Arab Christian student Mona Habayeb ‘24 also states that she has recently noticed a spike in hateful sentiments: “the reactions from people [to recent conflicts] and the hate Jews and Muslims are receiving is unfathomable.” 

Not only students have noticed a rise in acts of hatred. Deans of Students Mr. Arnold and Ms. Lopez, who have a combined experience of over forty years in education, have also witnessed several acts of hatred against members of the Good Counsel school community. “Every once in a while, a student will draw a swastika somewhere in their notebook or somebody does it on a divider between urinals [in the restrooms],” said Mr. Arnold. 

Although instances of antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, there are several ways in which the Good Counsel community can act to prevent and deal with acts of hatred. As a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School, Good Counsel seeks to “teach and promote respectful dialogue to bridge divides between cultures, nations, religious beliefs and traditions,” according to Partners in Mission: Understanding the Xaverian Way.

Mr. Arnold, Dean of Students (Evan Brown ’25)

Good Counsel President Mr. Ciccone believes that students who experience acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any kind of hatred “should definitely not let it go unreported or unknown.” There are support systems in place for them at Good Counsel. Trusted adults such as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Mrs. Konglim and school counselors are available to support students undergoing hatred, bullying, or any other kind of emotional stress. 

Ms. Lopez, Dean of Students (Evan Brown ’25)

Ms. Lopez believes that “any kind of ‘ism’ is just ignorance…people are afraid of things they don’t know, they don’t understand, they fear for some unknown reason. And they show disregard for a certain group of people…and will abuse a certain group of people.” Considering this, the most effective way to prevent and reduce acts of hatred, specifically antisemitism and Islamophobia, is education. 

Through several educational techniques, the Good Counsel community can teach its members to love rather than to hate. The Good Counsel community can educate its students, faculty, and staff by teaching and living out the Xaverian values and charisms. According to Good Counsel president Mr. Ciccone, “one of [the charisms] is a call to build diverse and inclusive communities for the purpose of having enduring personal relationships…the call to do that, in the official Xaverian brothers approach, is to build inclusive and diverse communities to form enduring personal relationships [and] to appreciate different cultures and perspectives.” 

Mr. Ciccone, President (Madeleine Tiongson ’25)

Building inclusive and diverse communities provides a safe space for all members in those communities to speak up when injustices occur. In order to create these types of communities, people must be equipped with accurate information. “People need to educate themselves with multiple sources and not just social media,” Abigail Klubis ‘25 stated. 

Dean of Students Mr. Arnold believes that encouraging “people who don’t understand what they consider to be ‘other,’ unlike them, to interact with others who they think are not like them, and [to] realize [that] we’re all exactly the same,” is a great method of education for those who may not be aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Mona Habayeb ‘24 also believes that people can be educated about inclusivity through “teach-ins, prayers, posters, or teachers simply being open and well versed on these issues.” Habayeb believes that these methods can fix what goes on in the world “little by little.” “It’s important to build each other up,” Habayeb stated. 

The rise of hatred, specifically manifested through acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia, is a major issue in the world today that needs to be addressed and dealt with. In today’s world, the loving good person – even alone – can make a difference. Through education, prayer, support, and living out the Xaverian values and charisms, those in the Good Counsel community can work to reduce acts of hatred in the world around them. 


*A special thank you to Mrs. Konglim, Director – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice, for her assistance.


Works Cited

Arkin, Daniel. “73% of Jewish college students have experienced or seen antisemitism since start of school year, new survey finds.” NBC News, 29 Nov. 2023, Accessed 19 Mar. 2024.

Czachor, Emily Mae. “U.S. sees ‘unprecedented,’ ‘staggering’ rise in antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents since start of Israel-Hamas war, groups say.” CBS News, 11 Dec. 2023, Accessed 12 Apr. 2023.

Weissman, Sarah. “Jewish, Muslim Students Fear Their Views Put Them in Danger.” Inside Higher Ed, 8 Mar. 2024, Accessed 19 Mar. 2024.

Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.