Stand up to hate crimes across our nation

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The Honorable William Barr
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

cc: Christopher A. Wray
Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr,

On behalf of our organizations, and in light of the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a gunman shot and killed over 50 Muslim worshipers, we ask the Department of Justice, in conjunction with relevant law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to address the alarming rise of white supremacy and neo-Nazi ideology by establishing a more robust system of hate crime data-collection and security measures of Muslim houses of worship and affiliated properties.

The tragedy in Christchurch occurred at two separate mosques during Friday prayers, which is when Muslims gather in large numbers for Jummah. This massacre is reminiscent of attacks on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, and a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek. This kind of violence is unacceptable in any country and the bigotry that motivates these kinds of crimes needs to be swiftly addressed and eradicated. No one should fear for their safety in their houses of worship.

As noted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's report, from November 9, 2016 to March 31, 2017, 1,893 hate crimes were reported throughout the United States. Of these, threats and attacks against Muslims have seen the greatest increase. We believe these numbers, particularly anti-Muslim hate crimes, are grossly under-reported because many localities report that zero hate crimes against Muslims are taking place in their jurisdiction. Data now shows that domestic terrorism is outpacing international terrorism.

Therefore, we request that Department of Justice lead an interagency effort to:

Provide the resources needed to state and local law enforcement agencies in order to better recognize and report hate crimes against Muslims.
Establish an interagency-community commission to assess the security of Muslim houses of worship and affiliated properties.
Present a credible plan to better understand, target, and ultimately shutdown domestic terror and radical groups that adhere to White ethnic-nationalist ideologies.
Provide the necessary measures, tools, and resources to bolster the physical security of Muslim houses of worship and affiliated properties
The proliferation of hate crimes against religious and ethnic minorities as well as immigrants will continue unless we, as a nation, immediately denounce and more actively address the root causes of hate. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

Thank you and we look forward to your timely response to this urgent matter.