The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council praised the U.S. Senate for adopting unanimously the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018. The Council thanked Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) for their leadership in shepherding the legislation through the Senate. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted a similar measure in December.
“Solid bipartisan support for this critical measure confirms a determination by our political leaders to assertively combat religiously-motivated hate crimes,” said Council Co-Chair Farooq Kathwari.
Council Co-Chair Stanley Bergman added, “We look forward to this important measure being signed into law, ensuring that attacks on religious institutions are fully investigated and prosecuted and sending a powerful message of no tolerance for hate crimes.”
Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to monitor and prosecute hate crimes has been a priority of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council since it was established nearly two years ago.
The new legislation expands coverage of federal hate crimes laws to include religious institutions, such as schools and community centers. It clarifies that threats against, as well as acts that result in damage to, religious institutions are covered under federal law.
According to the latest FBI report, issued in 2017, hate crimes increased by 4.6 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Anti-Jewish incidents comprise the majority all religious hate crimes, while anti-Muslim incidents rose nearly 20 percent over 2015.
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.