Hate Crimes on the Rise: What You Can Do
August 21, 2020
Dr. Zahra Nasiruddin Jamal is Associate Director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance. In partnership with the American Jewish Committee, the Community of Conscience, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, the Boniuk Institute is hosting a Forum on Protecting Places of Worship on Thursday, Aug. 27 noon CST. Register here.
As of 2018, 80% of all hate crimes in the U.S. were committed against racial and religious minorities, including their religious institutions. Crimes against Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other houses of worship in Oak Creek 2012, Charleston 2015, Victoria TX 2017, Pittsburgh 2018, have only continued during the pandemic with attacks across the country on Protestant and Catholic churches, violence against Jewish communities, and assaults of Muslim and Sikh individuals and communities. These numbers are expected to increase as sacred spaces slowly re-open during the pandemic, and as the 2020 election nears.
College campuses are not immune to these trends. Since the 2016 election, bullying, intolerance, and violence have increased on American college campuses, especially against religious, racial, and sexual minorities.
Faith, interfaith, spiritual, and worldview groups on college campuses, as well as those who manage and use spaces for prayer and gathering like campus chapels, multicultural centers, and interfaith rooms, should heed these trends.
As we return to our diverse campuses, our safety plans in a COVID-world should also include plans to protect campus religious/worldview groups and spaces from hate crimes and incidents. Some questions to consider:
In order to help campuses address the rise of hate crimes on college campuses, Rice University’s Boniuk Institute, AJC’s Community of Conscience, and the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council are hosting a Virtual Protecting Places of Worship Forum facilitated by the Department of Justice Community Relations Service on Aug 27 for faith and community leaders to understand the trends, prepare safety plans, and find grants and other support to help you protect your people and property. Register at AJC.org/ppow. If you can’t attend, these resources can help you get started. Stay safe.
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