Letter to the Editor: Hate Crimes Have No Place in Our Communities

Letter to the Editor: Hate Crimes Have No Place in Our Communities

In recent weeks there has been an alarming increase in acts of anti-Semitism at Jewish Community Centers, cemeteries, and schools, and at Muslim Community Centers and mosques. Well over 100 incidents have been reported just since the beginning of 2017, including recent bomb threats at a Jewish Community Center in Fairfax and at two mosques and a Muslim Community Center in Montgomery County. Government leaders, faith-based organizations, and our entire community should condemn these incidents and call upon law enforcement to work with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to seek out the perpetrators of these hate crimes and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

Desecration of Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats at Jewish and Muslim schools and community centers are intended to cause fear and intimidation, and have no place on our communities. Coordinated government involvement at all levels is needed to identify and prosecute those who are responsible for these hate crimes. Congress must ensure that funding for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is maintained to ensure that adequate resources are available to make prosecution of hate crimes a priority. The President, Members of Congress, and our Governors should continue to speak out against the hate crimes which have escalated alarmingly. All of this will require leadership, but each of these steps is required to ensure that all Americans regardless of their religion, are free from hate crimes such as desecration of cemeteries and bomb threats at religious schools and community centers. Lastly, during the Easter season, Christian churches should take the opportunity to condemn the recent acts of hate crimes directed at Jewish and Muslim communities because of their religion, and include in the Easter liturgy a reaffirmation of the bonds of humanity shared by the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religions.

Brad Penney