Religious leaders welcome FBI hate crimes reporting

Fbi IslamFor Raed Jarrar, the FBI’s decision Wednesday (June 5) to begin tracking hate crimes against Arabs is a battle won in a larger war.

“This is just one part of fixing the system, because unfortunately many hate crimes against Arab Americans have not been noticed,” said Jarrar, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

In addition to its decision on tracking anti-Arab hate crimes, the FBI has agreed to track crimes against a number of religious groups it has never before tracked. The new categories include reporting crimes committed against Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox Christians.

“I think having these additional categories is wonderful,” said Samir Kalra, director and fellow at the Hindu American Foundation. Though there were intense efforts to include Hindus, Sikhs and Arabs in the statistics, these other groups weren’t advocated for as heavily.

The original recommendation signed by more than 100 members of Congress called for the FBI to add Sikh, Hindu and Arab hate crimes to the data collected under the agency’s crime reporting program. The program now tracks religious hate crimes against Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and atheists/agnostics.

Ahmadi Muslim leader pushes plight in Congress

WASHINGTON — The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is persecuted around the world, but it has plenty of friends on Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined more than 20 House colleagues and at least one senator Wednesday (June 27) at a reception to mark the first visit of the Ahmadiyya’s spiritual leader, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to Congress.

The Ahmadiyya have faced severe repression, Pelosi said, “but you refused to turn to bitterness or vengeance.”

“The message we carry is ‘if you are being hurt, do not respond with hurt,’” said Ahsanullah Zafar, president of the Ahmadiyya community in the U.S.

Katrina Lantos Swett, the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, asked the audience to stand up for the Ahmadiyya.

“The message of the Ahmadiyya community is a positive call for world harmony and liberty,” Swett said. “We who believe in peace and freedom dare not be silent.”