Violence motivated by bigotry is unacceptable regardless of the target. While crime statistics show blacks and Jews are among the most frequent victims, the Los Angeles city council recently singled out acts targeting Muslims for a special condemnation in the form of a resolution.
In the Daily News of Los Angeles Sunday, Joe Hicks and David Lehrer challenge the move as misleading political rhetoric. Statistics from the local human relations commission show there were 131 crimes based on religion in Los Angeles County during 2009. Of those, 88 percent targeted Jews, 8 percent targeted Christians. Muslims were the victims in 3 percent of the cases reported.
That mirrors national hate crime data issued annually by the FBI.
Passing the resolution gives a false impression that "America's Muslims are under attack nationally and that here in Los Angeles acts of hate are out of control," Hicks and Lehrer write. "This might serve the advocates' agenda, but it ill-serves the interests of the people of Los Angeles."
Lehrer is a former Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League and Hicks served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission. The two work with Community Advocates, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that focuses on race relations.
In their column, they describe the campaign to elevate "Islamophobia" as a cause, pushed by political advocacy groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council that routinely seek to undermine law enforcement counter-terrorism efforts. The City Council bought into that campaign, Hicks and Lehrer write, and "simply took information provided by an advocacy group, one that's hardly unbiased, and uncritically spat out a resolution opposing "Islamophobia" and "random acts of violence against Muslim-Americans."
Read the full column here.