The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council is deeply troubled by the latest FBI assessment of hate crimes in the United States. The 2017 Hate Crimes Statistics report shows a disturbing 17 percent increase in hate crimes across the country, compared to 2016. Moreover, in 2017, 58.1% of the religious-bias hate crimes targeted Jews and 18.6% were aimed at Muslims.

Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to monitor and prosecute hate crimes has been the primary focus of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council since it was established in November 2016. The Council has met regularly with U.S. Department of Justice officials and values their commitment to work together with communities of all faiths in combating hate crimes.

The Council successfully advocated for the passage of the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018, which increases federal penalties for credible threats of violence against religious institutions and broadens the scope of the law to include establishments other than houses of worship.

“Firstly, accurate data is needed to improve the understanding of and collective response to hate crimes,” said Farooq Kathwari, Co-Chair of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.  “More needs to be done to protect religious and ethnic minorities in the United States, as shown most recently by the fatal assault at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council is encouraged by the Department of Justice’s new comprehensive hate crimes website designed to provide a centralized portal for hate crimes resources. The annual FBI report relies on submissions by state and local law enforcement agencies, and the number contributing data rose to 16,149 in 2017 from 15,254 in 2016.

“The rapidly rising incidence of hate crimes across the United States is deeply concerning,” said Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council Co-Chair Stanley Bergman. “We look to the Department of Justice to re-double its critical efforts to address hate crimes, including through strengthened training and funding assistance for law enforcement agencies and states, support for community policing, partnerships and local special task forces on hate crimes, and improved reporting and data collection on hate crimes. We must stamp out this growing and insidious scourge on communities across the country.”

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council brings together 46 civil society, religious, and business leaders from across the United States to advocate for domestic policy issues of common concern. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are its co-conveners. The Council has eight regional affiliates across the United States, in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Washington, D.C.

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