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March 23, 2015 1

New FBI Hate Crime Training Manual Published

This week the FBI pub­lished an updated hate crime train­ing man­ual. The excel­lent new guide is the sin­gle most impor­tant, most inclu­sive hate crime train­ing resource avail­able for law enforce­ment officials

DOJ sealThis ver­sion of the Bureau’s Hate Crime Data Col­lec­tion Guide­lines and Train­ing Man­ual  includes new def­i­n­i­tions, train­ing sce­nar­ios, and a spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions sec­tion to help police offi­cials effec­tively iden­tify and report the new cat­e­gories of crime man­dated for col­lec­tion for 2015 – includ­ing hate crimes directed at Arabs, Sikhs and Hin­dus. The first edi­tion of the man­ual, pub­lished in early 2013, included guid­ance on how to define and iden­tify gen­der and gen­der iden­tity hate crimes, based on require­ments set forth in the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act(HCPA).

The FBI has been track­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate crimes reported from fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA). The Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States. The Act has also proven to be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to con­front vio­lent big­otry, increas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the prob­lem and spark­ing improve­ments in the local response of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to hate vio­lence – since in order to effec­tively report hate crimes, police offi­cials must be trained to iden­tify and respond to them.

Although the newest data from the 2013 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act report showed hate crimes have been declin­ing, the num­bers are still dis­turbingly high.  The addi­tion of anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu hate crimes for 2015 demon­strates the Bureau’s com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing and coun­ter­act­ing these crimes.  After the tragic mur­der of six Sikh wor­ship­pers in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin in 2012, col­lect­ing data on Arab, Sikh, and Hindu vic­tims of hate crimes became even more urgent. This updated FBI hate crime train­ing man­ual is a cru­cial step in the work to address these crimes.

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March 23, 2015 1

The Ripple Effect of Interfaith Dialogue

Dialogue Group (2)

Recent inci­dents around the world remind us of the power of hate and vit­riol to per­me­ate our reli­gious, cul­tural and national bor­ders. ISIS con­tin­ues to expand its alliances and fear-mongering tac­tics.  The world is in many ways par­a­lyzed to see a way for­ward, and the need for solu­tions capa­ble of build­ing bridges of under­stand­ing and respect has never been greater.

In this spirit, in early 2013, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Con­necti­cut Office launched a Jewish-Muslim Com­mu­nity Dia­logue pro­gram between five Jew­ish and five Mus­lim women in the greater New Haven area. The women met for three con­sec­u­tive dia­logue ses­sions in March, April and May 2013. These ses­sions were so suc­cess­ful that all ten women requested a con­tin­u­a­tion of the pro­gram into the next year. Over the course of the 2013–2014 aca­d­e­mic year, four addi­tional dia­logue ses­sions were held that explored an array of top­ics related to their own Jew­ish and Mus­lim iden­ti­ties and experiences.

Each meet­ing fol­lowed key guid­ing prin­ci­ples such as active lis­ten­ing, sus­pend­ing assump­tions, and speak­ing from one’s indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ence. In between the for­mal ses­sions, the women teamed up in inter­faith pairs to orga­nize and host social, cul­tural and edu­ca­tional “out­reach gath­er­ings.” From hear­ing about a fam­ily member’s expe­ri­ence on the Hajj (Islamic pil­grim­age to Mecca), to attend­ing a Shab­bat ser­vice at a local syn­a­gogue, to par­tic­i­pat­ing in an Inter­faith Passover Seder, the women’s bonds were strength­ened and “rip­ples” of under­stand­ing could be felt beyond the group itself.

These rip­ples can be illus­trated in small moments the women have expe­ri­enced when going about their daily lives.

One Jew­ish mem­ber of the group described an expe­ri­ence she had recently in the restroom of a local depart­ment store. As she entered the restroom, she noticed two women, one wear­ing a hijab, and the other a teenager, sport­ing ripped jeans and streaks of pink in her hair. A few moments later, the Jew­ish woman wit­nessed the teenager aggres­sively ask­ing the other woman, “Why do you wear those awful things? This is Amer­ica; don’t you know that?” The Mus­lim woman was shak­ing and clearly fright­ened.  She didn’t speak much Eng­lish and there­fore didn’t respond. Instinc­tively, the Jew­ish woman walked over, took the Mus­lim woman’s hand and gen­tly led her to safety. As they walked out of the restroom. she heard the teenager shout a pro­fan­ity at both of them. She accom­pa­nied the Mus­lim woman to her fam­ily, and with a non-verbal ges­ture of shared grat­i­tude, they went their own way. No words needed to be exchanged. A quiet under­stand­ing of shared human­ity. A ripple.

One of the Mus­lim mem­bers of the group said that being part of the group has given her a clearer under­stand­ing of the rela­tion­ship between Judaism and Islam and has inspired within her con­fi­dence to share more of her­self with Jew­ish friends and acquain­tances. For exam­ple, within the last year she accepted an invi­ta­tion to share some of her insights and expe­ri­ences with a group of senior cit­i­zens at a local Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. Another ripple.

Another Jew­ish mem­ber shared a story about a recent expe­ri­ence she had on a small char­ter plane to Philadel­phia. There couldn’t have been more than 100 peo­ple on the plane, and she found her­self sit­ting in front of a scream­ing child. Every­one seated around her was agi­tated, hop­ing the child would calm down. The par­ents appeared to be Mus­lim, as the mother also wore a hijab.  The Jew­ish woman con­sid­ered what she might do to be help­ful.  Then, she remem­bered a gift that a Mus­lim mem­ber of the dia­logue group had given to every­one—Tas­bih, Islamic prayer beads that her hus­band brought back from his pil­grim­age to Mecca (known as the Hajj).  She reached into her purse, pulled out the prayer beads and offered them to the small child. The par­ents were dumb­founded as to what she was doing with them and ecsta­tic about the joy­ful calm they brought to their child.

Another Mus­lim mem­ber recounted her expe­ri­ence vis­it­ing her home coun­try of Morocco over the sum­mer. In a quiet moment of soli­tude and reflec­tion, she made her way to a mosque in order to say a prayer of heal­ing for the hus­band of a Jew­ish mem­ber of the group. An invis­i­ble line could be drawn between Islam and Judaism in this moment. A line cre­ated by rela­tion­ships of the heart.

Islamic scholar and char­ter mem­ber of ADL’s Inter­faith Coali­tion on Mosques (ICOM), Ambas­sador Akbar Ahmed defines dia­logue as a way to “redis­cover the essen­tial spir­i­tual unity in faith that tran­scends ideas of group honor and iden­tity.”  It is a sim­ple and yet pro­found process in which indi­vid­u­als can speak through dif­fer­ent lenses about their iden­tity and work towards human­iz­ing the ‘other.’ In the process, rela­tion­ships are formed – friend­ships that fos­ter love and not hate.

One of the Mus­lim par­tic­i­pants sum­ma­rized her expe­ri­ence over the last two years: “I am com­ing out of the end of the year as a stronger per­son. The sup­port and under­stand­ing of the group has touched other parts of my life. I feel we are build­ing bridges through com­pas­sion­ate under­stand­ing. This expands our net­work to places other than work and home. We are touch­ing on other beliefs than our own only to real­ize how great the com­mon ground is. The con­tin­u­a­tion of this work is impor­tant because such a group is a path­way to peace. These small steps can be a start to the cre­ation of sim­i­lar groups cre­at­ing greater under­stand­ing of dif­fer­ent reli­gions at a per­sonal level. As was said at the last meet­ing we still have a lot to learn from each other and in doing so we are com­ing to a greater under­stand­ing of our­selves. I look for­ward to all that lies ahead!”

 

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March 18, 2015 9

Arizona Shooting Spree Suspect May Have White Supremacist Connections

After a man­hunt that lasted sev­eral hours and involved mul­ti­ple police depart­ments, author­i­ties in Mesa announced the appre­hen­sion of a sus­pect believed respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple shoot­ings in Mesa on March 18 that killed one and injured at least five more.   The sus­pect in the shoot­ings has been iden­ti­fied by media reports as Ryan Elliott Giroux.

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Giroux has a past crim­i­nal his­tory, includ­ing a stint in state prison.  A Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions mug shot from his time in prison reveals that Giroux likely is or was a white suprema­cist, based on his facial tat­toos.  Giroux had the words “skin” and “head” tat­tooed on his eye­brows, while next to his left eye is a promi­nent “88” tat­too.  The numer­i­cal sym­bol “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the 8th let­ter of the alpha­bet), is one of the most popular white suprema­cist tat­toos in the United States.

Giroux also has a Celtic knot­work tat­too on his chin.  Such tat­toos are pop­u­lar with white suprema­cists, though also used by others.

The shoot­ings began at a motel in Mesa around 8:45am, where two peo­ple were shot, one fatally.  The shooter went to a nearby restau­rant, where he allegedly shot a woman and stole a car.  Other shoot­ings occurred as the sus­pect tried to evade appre­hen­sion.   Mesa police offi­cers even­tu­ally tracked down and appre­hended Giroux.

The motive for the shoot­ings is not yet known.

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