The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) calls on more law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes data to the FBI following the release of the agency’s latest Hate Crimes Statistics report.

The report shows 7,759 hate crime incidents in 2020, up six percent over those reported in 2019. It is the highest number of reported hate crime incidents since 2008. Anti-Jewish crimes comprised 58 percent of all religious bias crimes, and anti-Muslim crimes remain the next largest religious group targeted at nine percent. While crimes against both communities decreased in 2020, possibly due to the closing of houses of worship during the pandemic, anti-Asian, anti-Black, and anti-White crimes increased by 73 percent, 43 percent, and 16 percent respectively.

The annual FBI report grossly underestimates the number of hate crimes, as participation by local law enforcement agencies in the FBI’s hate crime data collection system is not mandatory. In the FBI’s data for 2020, 60 cities with a population of 100,000 residents or more reported zero hate crimes or did not submit any data. The overall number of law enforcement agencies that submitted data for the report declined for the third year in a row.

“Until all U.S. cities start reporting accurate data to the FBI, we will not know the full extent of the hate crimes taking place in the United States,” said MJAC Co-chair Farooq Kathwari. “The increase in hate crimes incidents demands collective action from all members of society.”

MJAC members have been working together for years to strengthen the national response to hate crimes and advocated for passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which seeks to improve hate crimes reporting. The bill, an amendment to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, was signed into law earlier this year by President Biden.

“The latest FBI report confirms that hate crimes reporting is inconsistent across the country,” said MJAC Co-chair Stan Bergman. “We hope with the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, we will see an improvement in the hate crimes data reported to the FBI in the years to come.”

MJAC, a national coalition founded in 2016 by AJC with Muslim and Jewish partners, works to combat hate, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry. MJAC’s national council and eleven regional councils, in Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. represent a network of hundreds of Muslim and Jewish leaders committed to working together for the good of both communities and the country. MJAC stands at the forefront of those confronting hatred against religious minorities and has made stemming the rise in hate crimes a key advocacy area of focus.

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