Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Blog

On September 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to convene a hearing on hate crimes and domestic extremism. While the hearing has been spurred, in part, by the recent tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, it will seek to elevate the concerns surrounding hate crimes and domestic extremism that all communities and Americans face in this country.

The hearing will be chaired by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and will take place at 2:30pm at 216 Hart Senate Office Building.

AAI submitted written testimony to the hearing, highlighting the numerous hate crimes committed against Arab Americans in the past year alone, and the importance of identifying, preventing, and combating right-wing violent extremism. The testimony makes note of a 2009 report released by the Department of Homeland Security describing the “significant domestic political threat” posed by “white supremacist lone wolves.”

Though the report presciently warned of the lone-wolf extremism responsible for the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Oak Creek shootings, and other recent attacks and crimes, it was largely ignored and marginalized by Congress at the time of its release.

Several individuals derided the report as “propaganda,” and Rep. John Boehner accused the department of “using [the designation of ‘terrorist’] to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.”

We hope that the hearing will refocus government attention to the very real danger of right-wing radicalization, as well as the ways in which anti-Arab or anti-Muslim discourse feeds into this type of violent extremism.

If you are in the DC area and would like to attend the hearing, please email me and we will try to reserve you a seat.

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