April 12, 2019 — Washington, D.C.
The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) conducted a series of high-level meetings in the nation’s capital on combatting hate crimes and promoting civil discourse.
Council members met with Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband and other officials at the Department of Justice. They advocated for increased focus on the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes by building upon the Justice Department’s existing efforts to train law enforcement, educate communities, and mobilize federal prosecutors across the country. Council members also discussed ways in which MJAC could help DOJ and local law enforcement engage more effectively with Muslim and Jewish communities throughout the country.
“We were encouraged to hear that Attorney General Barr has made combatting hate crimes a top priority for the Department of Justice,” said MJAC Co-Chair Stanley Bergman. “Added resources and consistent messaging in the fight against prejudice and bigotry of all kinds will be essential."
Council members also met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and aides to Senator Lindsay Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. MJAC is actively supporting the introduction of legislation to improve the collection of hate crimes data and to confront threats of violence motivated by white supremacism and other forms of domestic extremism.
Earlier in the day, Council members visited the residence of New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Rosemary Banks to present letters of condolence to the people of New Zealand as well as to the two mosque communities attacked in Christchurch.
“Hate has no place in our world and we must fight bigotry and the violence it leads to whenever and wherever it emerges,” states the MJAC letter. “No one can repair the harm that was caused or restore those who have been lost. However, we take this despicable crime as a call to action.”
Ambassador Banks and MJAC leadership discussed the unique role of civil society in combatting bigotry and strategies for legislating against hate and violence in both countries.
“As American Muslims and Jews we stand with the people of New Zealand,” said MJAC Co-Chair Farooq Kathwari. “Those who sow the seeds of hatred and violence must be stopped. When tragedy strikes, as it did in the Christchurch mosques, we must advocate, we must educate, and we must respond.”
MJAC is a civil society coalition working at the forefront of confronting hatred and bigotry. Its national Council and eight regional affiliates represent leaders from business, non-profits, religious life, and public service sectors. MJAC works in a bi-partisan manner to protect the rights of religious minorities in the United States and to promote the achievements of Muslims and Jews across the U.S.