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Durbin Announces Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Hate Crimes

CHICAGO  In response to the ongoing and persistent rise in antisemitism and other forms of bigotry across the country, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee hearing to examine threats facing marginalized communities and how the federal government can better protect the civil rights and safety of all Americans.  Under Durbin’s leadership as Chair, the Committee has worked to address the threat of hate crimes and domestic terrorism targeting racial and religious minority communities in the United States.

“Following the horrific Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s military response in Gaza, we’ve seen a rise in hate incidents across the country, particularly targeting the Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities.  Sadly, no community is immune from violent acts of hate and the increasing use of hateful rhetoric by political leaders is exacerbating the problem.  Congress cannot turn a blind eye to it,” Durbin said.  “That’s why I have worked—through this Committee—to address the rise in hate crimes and domestic terrorism we’ve seen in recent years across America.”

Durbin continued, “I am not under the illusion that one bill or one committee hearing is a silver bullet for preventing hate crimes.  There’s more work to do.  So during this upcoming hearing, we will consider the rise in hate crimes against Jewish, Arab, and Muslim Americans alongside the equally troubling rise in hate crimes against members of other vulnerable communities.  And we will learn about what we can do to better support survivors of hate crimes and the members of law enforcement who respond to them.”

This hearing builds on Durbin’s work to address the rise in hate crimes and domestic terrorism across America. Since 2022, the Committee has held several hearings to examine the issue, including a hearing on “Combating the Rise in Hate Crimes” shortly after the January 15, 2022, synagogue attack in Colleyville, Texas, and a hearing on the “‘Metastasizing’ Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack,” which explored the continued threat posed by violent white supremacists and other extremists, including those who have embraced the so-called “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, after a mass shooting by a white supremacist in Buffalo on May 14, 2022; the white supremacist who murdered 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 also embraced this conspiracy theory.

Last year, Durbin reintroduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which would establish federal offices to combat domestic terrorism, require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess the threat, and provide training and resources to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to address it.  In May 2022, Senate Republicans filibustered the House-passed Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, less than two weeks after the racially-motivated attack at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that killed ten Black Americans.