Posted on February 22, 2018 in Press Releases

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AAI Welcomes DOJ Indictment for Hate Crime Against Man Who Repeatedly Threatened Organization

For Immediate Release:

February 22, 2018

(Washington) On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice charged a Virginia man with four counts of threatening Arab American Institute (AAI) staff because of their Arab ancestry and three counts of threatening AAI employees for their advocacy efforts on behalf of Arab Americans. The charges come at a time when hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry, and religion are on the rise. In 2016 hate crime incidents reported to the FBI increased by 4.6% with most of that increase occurring between October and December. Among the overall rise in reported incidents, hate crimes against Arab Americans rose by 38% in 2016, according to the FBI. These increases do not account for the massive under reporting of hate crimes that continue to occur.

Given the special challenges that come with pursuing hate crimes charges, AAI is appreciative of the work and efforts put forth by theagents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the lawyers at the Department of Justice whose tireless efforts in this case made this indictment possible.

Our community understands all too well the threat we live under because of our advocacy work. It is not new and this type of intimidation against our community, or all others, will not be tolerated. While these threats will never stop our fight for empowerment and our commitment to stand with our allies, I am pleased that the threats to our amazing staff are taken seriously and efforts are taken to keep them safe. I very much appreciate of the hard work of the FBI and the Civil Rights Division in this case. We will continue our good work, fighting to make sure our rights—and that of all Americans—are respected and protected,” AAI President James Zogby said.

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit