Posted by Joan Hanna on March 28, 2017 in Blog
Hate crimes have tragically been on the rise over the past few years. In particular, there has been a surge in hate crimes against Arab Americans and American Muslims. During our monthly National Policy Council (NPC) call, two Department of Justice representatives: acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Tom Wheeler, and Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination for the Civil Rights Division, Eric Treene, joined community leaders to hear concerns and answer questions. Both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Treene emphasized their commitment to prosecuting hate crimes while educating the public and law enforcement. AAI has long advocated for better reporting and training around hate crimes in order to arrive at more accurate data. These types of steps will hopefully lead to better reporting and more accurate numbers meaning resources can be focused on communities in need.
NPC members discussed their concerns about the recent uptick in hate crimes and described what they’re witnessing in their own communities. While Arab Americans and American Muslims are worried about this trend in our own community, NPC members also raised their concerns about other marginalized groups, including transgender students. Specifically, NPC members questioned the Department's decision to withdraw guidance for public schools on the safety of transgender students. Other key concerns involved bullying at schools and how and when such incidents could be classified as hate crimes.