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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says Muslims in tech world fear retaliation if they speak up amid Gaza conflict

In a post on X, Sam Altman stated, "Muslim and Arab (especially Palestinian) colleagues in the tech community I've spoken with feel uncomfortable speaking about their recent experiences, often out of fear of retaliation and damaged career prospects."

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says Muslims in tech world fear retaliation if they speak up amid Gaza conflict snt
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First Published Jan 5, 2024, 11:51 AM IST

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has voiced apprehensions regarding the unease and anxiety felt by individuals from the Muslim and Arab communities within the tech industry, especially amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In a post on the social media platform X, formerly recognized as Twitter, Altman shared insights gathered from discussions with peers within the tech community.

He stated, "Muslim and Arab (especially Palestinian) colleagues in the tech community I've spoken with feel uncomfortable speaking about their recent experiences, often out of fear of retaliation and damaged career prospects."

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"Our industry should be united in our support of these colleagues; it is an atrocious time. I continue to hope for a real and lasting peace, and that in the meantime we can treat each other with empathy," he added.

Leading the Microsoft-supported creator of ChatGPT, Altman underscored the importance of empathy toward individuals from these communities within the technology sector. His remarks coincide with escalated tensions and violence in the Middle East.

In response to inquiries about the experiences of the Jewish community, Altman said, "I am Jewish. I believe that antisemitism is a significant and growing problem in the world, and I see a lot of people in our industry sticking up for me, which I deeply appreciate. I see much less of that for Muslims."

Civil rights advocates have documented a significant rise in both antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States and other regions since the escalation of the conflict on October 7. According to Israeli reports, an attack by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas resulted in the death of 1,200 people. In response, Israel's military actions in Gaza led to over 22,000 Palestinian casualties, nearly 1% of its population, as reported by Gaza's health ministry.

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations documented a 172% surge in incidents driven by Islamophobia and bias against Palestinians and Arabs in the United States in the two months following the commencement of the war, in comparison to the same period the previous year. Correspondingly, the Anti-Defamation League noted a 337% increase in antisemitic incidents in the US between October 7 and December 7.

Altman's remarks accentuate the escalating worries regarding discrimination and bias within the tech industry and the broader societal context, emphasizing the necessity for awareness and support for affected communities.

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