CAIR-Chicago hosted a public viewing today of a Senate hearing entitled “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism” – chaired by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. The event was co-sponsored by the Asian American Institute, the Indian American Bar Association and the Muslim Bar Association.
A packed room of approximately 40 people attended the event, including:
The Senate hearing was held to examine the upswing in hate crimes and the growing number of hate groups in the United States. The Sikh Coalition led the effort in proposing the hearing at the request of over 150 civil rights and advocacy organizations. The hearing included witness testimony from the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others.
Many of the statements made referenced recent attacks on the Muslim, Sikh, Latino, and African-American communities, including the shootings of Sikh men and women at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin, and the string of attacks on the Chicago Muslim community during the last week of Ramadan this past year.
One of the more revealing statements made during the hearing was that the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S. came from right-wing extremists, according to expert testimonials.
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, and fellow staff live-tweeted during the event – noting these findings and expressing their hopes for a future without bigotry and racism.
The Senate hearing on hate crimes and domestic extremism was the first of its kind, and a necessary step in the direction towards standing up against hateful speech and acts. Senator Durbin emphasized tackling homegrown terrorism – which Sikhs, Muslims, and other minorities are often the victim of, as primary responsibilities as a nation that values the protection of its citizens and their civil liberties.