Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:
I respectfully request that the Senate Judiciary Committee urgently conduct a hearing next month on the need to address hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups in the US.
According to the FBI, in 2010 there were approximately 6,628 hate crimes reported. These incidents understate the problem due to underreporting by victims, and partly because hate crimes by law enforcement agencies is voluntary. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported an increase in hate groups by almost 60% since 2000. In 2010, more than 47% of hate crimes were racially motivated by the religion of the victim, 19% were based on sexual orientation and almost 13% of all crimes were based on ethnicity or national origin.
In August alone, six worshippers at a Sikh Gurdwara in Wisonsin were massacred by an attacker with known ties to hate groups.
Specifically, hate crimes based on anti-Hispanic bias accounted for nearly 67% of ethnically motivated crimes in 2010. Underreporting may be compounded by policies and political rhetoric (in support of broadscale racial profiling, for example) that could make hate crime victims apprehensive about immigration and law enforcement authorities.
Approximately ten Islamic institutions with Muslim communities in sevent states have experienced attacks including vandalism, a suspicious burning, shootings and the desecration of religious sanctuaries.
The Jewish community continues to experience bias attacks, accounting for 65% of all religiously motivated hate crimes documented by the FBI in 2010.
Although African Americans made up only 12.4% of the US population in 2010, they accounted for 70% of all racially motivated hate crimes that year. Given the persistence of hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups, we believe that a hearing is both timely and necessary.