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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Muslim in Tech ‘Feel Uncomfortable’ Speaking Up Over Fear Of Retaliation: Sam Altman

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman highlights concerns of discomfort among Muslim and Arab tech professionals in discussing their experiences, particularly post-Gaza conflict. The surge in Islamophobia and antisemitism prompts calls for industry unity and support.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has brought attention to the discomfort felt by Muslim and Arab communities within the tech industry, especially in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict. Altman expressed concern on social media network X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that individuals from these communities were reluctant to share their recent experiences due to fears of retaliation and damage to their career prospects.


Soaring Incidents of Islamophobia and Antisemitism

Altman’s remarks come against the backdrop of escalating tensions following the October 7 attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Israel. The subsequent conflict, including Israel’s assault on Gaza, has resulted in over 22,000 Palestinian casualties, drawing attention to a surge in Islamophobia and antisemitism globally.

In the United States alone, incidents motivated by Islamophobia and bias against Palestinians and Arabs have risen by a staggering 172% in the two months since the war began, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Read More: Dr. Mahrang Baloch Charged with Sedition Amid Protests for Missing Baloch Citizens

Sam Altman, who is of Jewish descent, emphasized the need for unity in the tech industry to support colleagues facing these challenges. He acknowledged the significant and growing problem of antisemitism while pointing out the disparity in support between the Jewish and Muslim communities. Altman’s call for empathy and unity reflects a broader conversation within the tech sector about fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.

Tech CEOs Respond to Rising Hostility

Altman’s concerns resonate with a group of Google employees who accused the company’s executives of a double standard in allowing freedom of expression for Israeli employees compared to Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian workers. Other tech CEOs, including TikTok’s Shou Chew, have taken steps to address the issue, meeting with top Jewish executives to reduce antisemitic content on their platforms.

While Altman admitted to not always seeing antisemitism as a significant issue, his evolving stance reflects a growing acknowledgment within the tech industry of the need to address and combat rising hostility towards various communities.