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Palestinian American community in Chicago on edge after local attack

After a deadly anti-Muslim attack near Chicago, the community is fearful for their own safety and also terrified about what's happening in Gaza.
Palestinian American community in Chicago on edge after local attack
Posted at 3:17 PM, Oct 17, 2023

In Little Palestine, near Chicago, immigration lawyer Fidaa Elaydi says she can't get any work done.

"I haven't really cooked a proper meal in, like, a week," said Elaydi. 

Instead, she's been glued to the news since the recent surprise attack on Israel by Hamas from Gaza, and constantly calling the hundreds of family members she has across the Gaza Strip.

Elaydi says she can't get ahold of her relatives in Gaza City. And she's terrified about what that could mean.

"Yesterday, I had to call a friend and, you know, share my condolences with him after 45 members of his family were killed in a single air strike," said Elaydi.

A few miles south of Gaza City, she says the home of her cousin's neighbor was bombed over the weekend.

"I feel powerless. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I'm enraged," she said. 

In addition to spending every waking hour worrying about Gaza, Elyadi is also scared for her family in the Chicago suburbs after the tragic death of a local 6-year-old Palestinian American boy who was stabbed to death on Saturday in what police are calling a hate crime directly in response to the war in Gaza.

"In the eyes of the public, Palestinians are less human than anyone else," Elyadi said. 

At a pro-Palestinian rally in downtown Chicago last week, Elyadi says someone from a nearby high rise threw an egg at her. For the first time in her life, she says she feels unsafe at home.

In the U.S., Elyadi is urging elected officials and the media to recognize the humanity of all Muslim Americans.

And in Gaza, she's calling for an immediate cease-fire and a humanitarian corridor before it's too late for her relatives.

"I think we can all agree and unify behind a message like that, that people should have access to food and water and electricity and that the injured should be able to receive treatment," she said. 

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