October 3, 2018 — New York
AJC praised President Trump for signing the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018.
“This important law, which provides for new and strengthened measures to deter, as well as punish, perpetrators of attacks on religious institutions, will provide a much-needed sense of comfort and security,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy.
AJC, with headquarters in New York and 22 regional offices across the country, has been a strong advocate for the new law, which builds on the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996, expanding it to include religiously affiliated institutions such as schools and community centers, in addition to houses of worship. It clarifies that threats against, as well as acts that result in damage or destruction of, religious institutions’ property are covered.
“The solid bipartisan support for the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018 is a reaffirmation of our freedom, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, to exercise religion, to practice one’s faith unhindered and without fear,” Isaacson said. “The increasing attacks and threats against churches, synagogues, and mosques disgrace our nation’s most fundamental values, and demand the firm response offered by the new law.”
AJC thanked Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), former chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Reps. David Kustoff (R-TN) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) for their leadership in securing unanimous Senate adoption and overwhelming support in the House of this measure.
According to the latest FBI report, issued in 2017, hate crimes increased by 4.6 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Anti-Jewish incidents continue to account for the majority of religious-based hate crimes, while incidents targeting Muslims rose nearly 20 percent over 2015.