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October 28, 2013 1

Matthew Shepard And James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act Four Years Later: Demonstrating Its Value

This week marks the fourth anniver­sary of the sign­ing of the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA).  The HCPA is the most impor­tant, com­pre­hen­sive, and inclu­sive hate crime enforce­ment law enacted in the past 40 years. In addi­tion, pas­sage of the act has sparked a wel­come round of police train­ing and out­reach – and the devel­op­ment of a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant new hate crime train­ing and pre­ven­tion resources. hate-crimes-prevention-act-HCPA

It is appro­pri­ate to pause to reflect on the extra­or­di­nar­ily broad coali­tion ADL was priv­i­leged to lead in sup­port the HCPA – includ­ing over 250 civil rights, edu­ca­tion, reli­gious, civic, and pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions and, cru­cially, vir­tu­ally every major law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tion in the coun­try. Orig­i­nally drafted in 1996, progress on the bill was stalled, Con­gress after Con­gress, because of per­sis­tent, adamant – and erro­neous – con­cerns about the impact of the bill’s cov­er­age of hate crimes directed at indi­vid­u­als because of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. In the end, even after 13 long years of advo­cacy, with the strong sup­port of Pres­i­dent Obama and Attor­ney Gen­eral Holder, the mea­sure still had to be attached to “must-pass” leg­is­la­tion – the Depart­ment of Defense FY 2010 Autho­riza­tion bill – in order to be enacted into law.

But now, four years later, advo­cates can­not doubt that the titanic efforts to enact the HCPA by Sen­ate and House cham­pi­ons and the hate crime coali­tion were worth­while. Here are high­lights of some of the impor­tant advances since the enact­ment of the HCPA, Pub­lic Law 111–84.

­Train­ing

  • Lawyers from the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DoJ) Civil Rights Divi­sion, FBI agents, and pro­fes­sion­als from DoJ’s Com­mu­nity Rela­tions Ser­vice have trained thou­sands of state and local law enforce­ment offi­cials from more than a dozen states on the HCPA’s new tools and federal-state part­ner­ship opportunities.  

Enforce­ment

  • DoJ has inves­ti­gated dozens of cases and has brought indict­ments in about 20 cases, includ­ing sev­eral cases in states that lack their own hate crime laws.    
  • Under the expanded author­ity of the HCPA, Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers have pro­vided foren­sic and other inves­tiga­tive assis­tance to state and local law enforce­ment offi­cials pros­e­cut­ing cases under their state laws. 
  • In coor­di­na­tion with sev­eral lead US Attor­neys, DoJ has vig­or­ously defended the HCPA in both facial and as applied con­sti­tu­tional challenges. 

Hate Crime Data Collection

Resources

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July 31, 2013 0

Remembering the Hate Crime Victims at Oak Creek – And Acting

Update — August 5, 2013: ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination.

On August 5, 2012, six Sikh wor­ship­pers were killed, and four oth­ers wounded, by a white suprema­cist skin­head at their Gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin.  The shooter then turned his gun on him­self.  Less than a week after the tragedy, US Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder. Jr.  par­tic­i­pated in a memo­r­ial ser­vice for the vic­tims, stat­ing that the crime was “an act of ter­ror­ism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”  sikh-temple-shooting-oak-creek-anniversary

Now, one year later, we observe the anniver­sary of this tragedy, hon­or­ing the mem­ory of the vic­tims by ele­vat­ing the fight against dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate crimes – and by work­ing to ensure that all places of wor­ship will be safe.

In the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks, our nation has expe­ri­enced a dis­turb­ing num­ber of back­lash attacks against Mus­lim, Sikhs, Arabs, and South Asians.  In fact, the first bias-motivated mur­der after 9/11 was Bal­bir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas sta­tion owner in Mesa, Arizona. 

After the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara mur­ders, ADL Chicago/Upper Mid­west Regional Office Direc­tor Lon­nie Nasatir par­tic­i­pated in a pro­gram in Oak Creek with the US Attor­ney and FBI offi­cials to show sup­port for the com­mu­nity and ADL pro­fes­sion­als across the coun­try reached out to Sikh orga­ni­za­tions to pro­vide resources on how to keep their com­mu­nity insti­tu­tions safe.

ADL has been the national leader in pro­mot­ing improved hate crime data col­lec­tion by law enforce­ment author­i­ties.  Since 2008, the League has sup­ported requir­ing the FBI to col­lect and report spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus.  

The mur­ders at Oak Creek pro­vided addi­tional impe­tus to make this change.  And the issue was exam­ined and pro­moted in Sep­tem­ber 19 Sen­ate Judi­ciary Sub­com­mit­tee on the Con­sti­tu­tion, Civil Rights and Human Rights hear­ings on “Hate Crime and the Threat of Domes­tic Extrem­ism,” to which the League sub­mit­ted com­pre­hen­sive tes­ti­mony. 

Work­ing with Con­gres­sional cham­pi­ons, like Rep. Joseph Crow­ley, the League helped to coor­di­nate a coali­tion effort to urge the FBI to include these new hate crime data cat­e­gories as part of the Bureau’s annual hate crime report pre­pared under the 1990 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act.   In May, an FBI Advi­sory Pol­icy Board rec­om­mended that the Bureau take this action.  

As we com­mem­o­rate the first anniver­sary of the tragedy at Oak Creek, we can take some solace in know­ing that our com­mu­ni­ties have done some­thing pos­i­tive to address that hor­rific inci­dent.  Col­lect­ing spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against indi­vid­u­als will increase pub­lic aware­ness, encour­age vic­tims to report these crimes, and expand exist­ing engage­ment and rela­tion­ships between law enforce­ment author­i­ties and these com­mu­ni­ties. ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination. 

Our atten­tion now turns to work­ing with the FBI and local law enforce­ment offi­cials to pro­vide train­ing and edu­ca­tion on these crimes.

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July 18, 2013 2

Homegrown Terrorist And Anti-Semite Emerson Begolly Sentenced

Twenty-four-year-old Emer­son Begolly was sen­tenced June 16 to more than eight years in prison for using the Inter­net to solicit oth­ers to com­mit ter­ror­ist attacks and weapons charges.emerson-begolly

Begolly, of New Beth­le­hem, Penn­syl­va­nia, had been an active mem­ber of sev­eral jihadist forums, where he pon­tif­i­cated on a range of issues, often prais­ing acts of vio­lence and express­ing his “desire to be a martyr.”

Many of his mes­sages, posted on var­i­ous online plat­forms between 2008 and 2010, were explic­itly anti-Semitic, call­ing for the death of all Jews and encour­ag­ing oth­ers to tar­get syn­a­gogues, Jew­ish schools and day care centers.

In response to the Israeli naval oper­a­tion to stop a flotilla of ships en route to Gaza in May 2010, Begolly wrote and recorded a trib­ute to the “Activists Who were Mar­tyred, Wounded, and Impris­oned at the Hands of the Zion­ist Pigs.” The song, which is enti­tled “When the Jew’s blood reds my knife, then my life is free from strife,” threat­ens to “throw them [the Jews] in the ovens” and to “shoot and kill Jews one by one.begolly-ansar-forum

Begolly, described by author­i­ties as self-radicalized, pre­vi­ously posted sev­eral pic­tures of him­self on his MySpace page dressed as a Nazi.

As a mod­er­a­tor on the Ansar al-Mujahideen Eng­lish Forum (AMEF), a pop­u­lar jihadist forum where mem­bers post and exchange extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda, media, pub­li­ca­tions, infor­ma­tion and news, Begolly posted com­ments call­ing for attacks on U.S. tar­gets, “such as police sta­tions, post offices, syn­a­gogues, mil­i­tary facil­i­ties, train lines, bridges, cell phone tow­ers and water plants,” as well as “civil­ian planes, finan­cial insti­tu­tions… Jew­ish schools, and day­care centers.”

He used var­i­ous aliases online, includ­ing Asadul­lah Alshis­hani, Abu Nancy, Goat Lee and Goatly.  In Decem­ber 2010, writ­ing under one of his pseu­do­nyms, Begolly posted a 101-page instruc­tion man­ual on bomb-making. 

Begolly also com­mu­ni­cated with oth­ers by instant mes­sage. Some of these con­ver­sa­tions, which Fed­eral inves­ti­ga­tors were able to recover, demon­strate Begolly’s mil­i­tancy and big­otry. Dur­ing the recov­ered con­ver­sa­tions, Begolly said “if amer­ica were not at war with islam i would not hate it but i am angry.” He said that if he were to “act now,” he would “go down like [Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy] McVeigh” and asked “have you ever con­sid­ered shoot­ing up ur school­ing and tak­ing revenge on those who wronged u?” He also said “most broth­ers objected to tar­get­ing kids but the rea­son i am for it is because first they r easy tar­gets and sec­ond because the pub­lic will want a reaction…plz dont think im a psycho ;).”

Begolly was arrested on Jan­u­ary 4, 2011, and charged the next day with assault­ing FBI agents and pos­sess­ing a firearm dur­ing a crime of vio­lence. After two FBI agents approached Begolly, he allegedly reached for a con­cealed loaded gun in his jacket and bit both FBI offi­cers, draw­ing blood.

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