Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.
By Steve Neavling
Homeland Security pledged to help investigate a rise in hate-based crimes, from bomb threats to Jewish institutions to shootings of Indian nationals.
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said Thursday that the “apparent hate-inspired attacks and harassment against individuals and communities” are “unacceptable.”
DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of International Engagement will be used in the investigations.
So far this year, about 90 Jewish community centers and schools have received threats, often about bombs.
Homeland Security’s help is long-awaited as civil rights leaders have questioned the Trump administration’s slow response to addressing an uptick in hate crimes.
Full Homeland Security statement:
Over the past few weeks, our country has seen an unacceptable and disturbing rise in the number of apparent hate-inspired attacks and harassment against individuals and communities. I strongly condemn any violent acts to perpetuate fear and intimidation not only against individuals, but entire communities. I pledge the full support of the Department of Homeland Security to assist local, state, and federal investigations into these incidents.
In response to these attacks, I have directed the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to work with impacted communities. We will heighten our outreach and support to groups affected by these incidents to enhance public safety. The Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold Incident Communication Coordination Team calls with impacted communities. The DHS Office of International Engagement will also continue to work with foreign governments whose nationals have been affected by these violent acts.
The United States has a history of welcoming and accepting individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Freedom of religion is a cherished American value, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. DHS is committed to protecting all people’s right to that essential freedom.