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Hate Crimes & Islamophobia

In response to the rapid rise in hate crimes, Congress is seeking ways to advance and pass legislation to address better ways to respond to this rise of attacks on communities of color.

Some of the acts currently introduced by congress include the Hate Crimes Commission Act of 2021, the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the NO HATE Act. The Hate Crimes Commission act aims to establish a commission within congress with the sole responsibility to investigate and report on hate crimes and ways to prevent such. The Covid-19 Hate Crimes act will direct the Attorney General or the Department of Justice (DOJ) to report on hate crimes committed due to racist beliefs of the connections between Asian citizens and the spread of Covid-19 to Federal and local police.

2019 marked the deadliest year on record since the hate crimes reporting program started in 1991. Less than 14% of the agencies that participate in FBI data collection reported one or more hate crimes. Areas of improvement according to legislation include: (1) authorize the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue grants to states and local governments to assist in implementing the National Incident-Based Reporting System, (2) include training employees to identify hate crimes Provide incentives for hate crime reporting, (3) provide grants for State-run hate crime hotlines, (4) establish alternative sentencing for individuals convicted under the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, (5) improve data collection and analysis, (6) train law enforcement and judicial bodies, and (7) educate the public and Increase penalties for perpetrators.  

Federal Work Plan Highlights:

  1. Support the reintroduction of the NO HATE Act and advocate for its passage
  2. Work with the Department of Justice to ensure consistent reporting and working with coalition partners highlight cases which may have been overlooked
State Work Plan Highlights: 

  1. Support national efforts for in-district meetings on the NO HATE Act
  2. Familiarize states with hate crime statutes, the NAACP has a list here
  3. Prepare statements and execute plans when issues of Islamophobia arise locally, similar to Florida action against
  4. Identify legislation that targets problematic state issues, for example Florida pre-filed legislation to remove the designations of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Confederate Memorial Day as legal holidays

Lastly, Emgage Action is a proud endorsee of the NO HATE Act, which the House passed as a provision of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May of 2021. This bill aimed to improve the means of hate crime reporting at state and federal levels. Crimes motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim pose a serious national problem and this legislative action seeks to rectify this. 

As a Muslim American advocacy organization, one of our biggest priorities is not to only represent minorities within the U.S. but also to protect them. In our effort to fighting deadly displays of racism within our nation, we will always support legislation that tackles the rapid rise in hate crimes as they pass through congress.