Statement of Concern Regarding April 9 Congressional Hearing on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism

April 8, 2019

Dear Chair­man Nadler and Rank­ing Mem­ber Collins,

We write to share our con­cerns with you and mem­bers of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee regard­ing the April 9 hear­ing on Hate Crimes and The Rise of White Nation­al­ism. We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

On Tues­day, April 9, Con­gress is hold­ing a hear­ing on hate vio­lence and white nation­al­ism.  Accord­ing to the announce­ment, the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee plans to “exam­ine hate crimes, the impact white nation­al­ist groups have on Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and the spread of white iden­ti­ty ide­ol­o­gy.” We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

As orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with Mus­lim, South Asian, Sikh, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties, we are deeply aware of how hate vio­lence has become a per­va­sive issue affect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. We are heart­ened to know that the wit­ness list for Tuesday’s hear­ing includes Dr. Abu Sal­ha whose two Mus­lim daugh­ters and son-in-law were mur­dered in a bru­tal hate crime in Chapel Hill, North Car­oli­na in 2015.

How­ev­er, Tuesday’s hear­ing fails to com­pre­hen­sive­ly address the scope and mag­ni­tude of hate vio­lence that dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impacts Black, Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties. Nor does the hear­ing uti­lize an oppor­tu­ni­ty  to unearth the com­plex moti­va­tions behind white nation­al­ism or its effects, includ­ing hate vio­lence. Apart from Dr. Abu Sal­ha, it is not sur­vivor-cen­tered, and the GOP wit­ness list includes sev­er­al indi­vid­u­als whose actions and insti­tu­tions have helped cat­alyze hate crimes, not abate them. For exam­ple, the wit­ness list includes Can­dace Owens, Direc­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Turn­ing Point USA, who tweet­ed “LOL” after the Christchurch mas­sacre and who was list­ed as an inspi­ra­tion in the man­i­festo released by the white suprema­cist who is respon­si­ble for the mas­sacre of at least 50 Mus­lims in New Zealand. The list also includes Mor­ton Klein, pres­i­dent of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­ca who used the slur “filthy Arabs” just last year. It is impor­tant that white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy are not treat­ed as redeemable ide­olo­gies.

It is unfath­omable as to why wit­ness­es who espouse hate­ful posi­tions and rep­re­sent racist insti­tu­tions would be includ­ed giv­en their active dis­crim­i­na­tion  against Mus­lims and Arabs. Addi­tion­al­ly, the hear­ing does not  thor­ough­ly exam­ine  the var­i­ous and dom­i­nant strands of white nation­al­ism, includ­ing zion­ism; the con­nec­tion between polit­i­cal rhetoric, state poli­cies, and the rise in hate crimes; nor does it include sur­vivors who expe­ri­enced hate vio­lence since the 2016 elec­tion; or gov­ern­ment offi­cials who should be held account­able for how fed­er­al agen­cies and law enforce­ment enti­ties are active­ly address­ing white nation­al­ism and hate vio­lence.

We demand that Con­gress hold sub­stan­tive hear­ings that cen­ter sur­vivors and that unequiv­o­cal­ly reject white nation­al­ism, white suprema­cy, Islam­o­pho­bia, racism, and hate vio­lence in all its forms. Sim­i­lar Con­gres­sion­al hear­ings have fall­en short of exam­in­ing the depth of white suprema­cist hate vio­lence and our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to pay the price. The 2017 FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics revealed an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row, a 17% increase from the pri­or year. This is an alarm­ing upward trend in hate crimes – now con­sis­tent­ly sur­pass­ing the spike imme­di­ate­ly after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001. Sur­vivors of hate vio­lence and big­otry deserve hon­est inquiries and true jus­tice from their elect­ed offi­cials. Con­gress must hold sub­se­quent hear­ings that com­pre­hen­sive­ly con­front and address the pro­lif­er­a­tion of white suprema­cist and white nation­al­ist hate vio­lence.

Signed,

Amer­i­can — Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC)

Arab Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of New York (AAANY)

Arab Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion

Arab Resource and Orga­niz­ing Cen­ter (AROC)

Asian/Pacific Islander Domes­tic Vio­lence Resource Project (API DVRP)

Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights (CCR)

Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR)

DRUM — Desis Ris­ing Up & Mov­ing

HEART Women & Girls

Jus­tice For Mus­lims Col­lec­tive

Mus­lim Anti-Racism Col­lab­o­ra­tive

Mus­lim Social Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive

Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties (NNAAC)

Nation­al Queer Asian Pacif­ic Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Project South

Sikh Coali­tion

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

South Asian Work­ers’ Cen­ter Boston

The Part­ner­ship For The Advance­ment of New Amer­i­cans (PANA)

Unit­ed We Dream