Wilker said the local resident saw the document with the swastikas and sent it on to others, mistakenly thinking it was linked to the anti-Muslim flyer. Wilker said his understanding is the anti-Muslim flyer, which says Islam permits throwing acid in women’s faces, was placed on a Toco Hills resident’s car in another part of the county. The car’s owner is Jewish, not Muslim.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called on DeKalb police to charge whoever put out the anti-Muslim flyer with a hate crime.
Wilker said a lot of factors led to the subsequent spread of misinformation.
“It goes to show the Jewish community is seriously on edge,” he said. “They’re being hypervigilant” because of rising anti-Semitism.
The scare over flyers came just days after five Jewish people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi’s New York home in what authorities say appeared to be a hate crime. Earlier this month a standoff and shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey left six people dead, including three people inside a kosher supermarket.
The Anti-Defamation League has found that the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic propaganda nearly tripled from 2017 to 2018 nationwide, with 1,187 incidents reported in 2018. A survey released in October by the American Jewish Committee found that the majority of Jews in America view anti-Semitism as a growing problem.
It’s important to share stories of discrimination when they occur, Wilker said. He said it is also necessary to verify stories before sharing them.