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SMF Attends Department of Justice forum on the rise of hate crimes

(WASHINGTON DC - November 1, 2023) Today, Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) the participated in an event titled "Uniting Against Hate: Connecting Community Voices & Strengthening Law Enforcement Partnerships," a Department of Justice Forum aimed at combating hate-motivated violence and incidents. Key speakers at the event were Attorney General Merrick B. Garland; Kristen M. Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights; and Nadia Aziz, Senior Program Director at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The event brought together key figures from law enforcement, government, and various communities to deliberate on effective strategies for combating hate crimes and fostering stronger community-law enforcement relationships.

The forum was part of the DOJ's United Against Hate initiative, launched in September 2022 by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, aiming to extend across every U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) within a year. The program's primary goals include increasing community understanding and reporting of hate crimes, building trust between communities and law enforcement, and forging stronger alliances to prevent and combat hate crimes.

Attorney General Garland highlighted the recent increase in threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities in the U.S. He emphasized the DOJ's commitment to combating these threats and building strong partnerships with communities to prevent hate crimes. This commitment aligns with the DOJ's foundational purpose of protecting civil rights and combating violence fueled by hate.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke addressed the alarming rise in hate crimes, particularly those targeting Black individuals and religious groups, including Muslims. She presented data showing that hate crimes are at their highest level in over a decade, with a significant increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents.

Nadia Aziz acknowledged the DOJ's efforts in countering hate and stressed the importance of continued engagement and action to address these challenges. She emphasized the critical role of community outreach and education in combating hate-motivated violence.

Dena King, from one of the United States Attorneys' offices, discussed the United Against Hate program's success in its pilot phase and its expansion to more offices. The program's focus on education, trust-building, and partnership enhancement between law enforcement and communities, particularly marginalized groups, was highlighted.

The event underscored the DOJ's commitment to protecting all Americans from hate-fueled violence, the urgency of addressing the rise in such crimes, and the essential role of community-law enforcement partnerships in this effort. It reiterated the need for united efforts and strong alliances to ensure the safety and rights of all, particularly those in the American Muslim community and other vulnerable groups.


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