Following Shooting of Muslim Man, Muslim Advocates Calls on Indiana to Enact Comprehensive Hate Crime Law

WASHINGTON, DC — In letters sent today, Muslim Advocates called on the Indiana General Assembly and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to enact a robust hate crime law that will allow officials to pursue hate crime investigations and charges in incidents such as the fatal shooting of American Muslim Mustafa Ayoubi and protect other victims of hate-motivated violence.

In February, Ayoubi was fatally shot multiple times in the back by a man who followed his car off a highway exit and yelled anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant slurs. Around the same time, the Indiana Senate watered-down a pending hate crime bill by stripping it of language specifying protected characteristics such as gender identity, race and sexual orientation. This left Indiana as one of only five states without a meaningful hate crime law and prevented local law enforcement and prosecutors from treating the incident as a hate crime.

This chilling murder—as well as other incidents such as a 2018 attack on a Muslim woman in Bloomington by a person yelling “white power” and “kill them all”—underscore the dire need for Indiana to enact a strong hate crime law. As the letters sent by Muslim Advocates note:

“With hate crimes continuing to rise at an alarming rate across the country, it is more important than ever for every state to have comprehensive hate crime legislation that: 1) protects victims of hate violence, 2) calls for comprehensive training for law enforcement to identify bias incidents, and 3) requires full reporting of all departments to the state and the FBI.”

It is crucial that the Indiana General Assembly enact legislation that upholds these commonsense principles.

“Hate-fueled violence continues to target communities in Indiana and around the country. Indiana must send a strong message against these incidents by enacting a meaningful hate crime bill that will protect people of all backgrounds and beliefs,” said Madihha Ahussain, Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry at Muslim Advocates. “The Ayoubi family, and so many others, deserve justice and that can’t happen until Indiana catches up to the 45 other states that have a real hate crimes law on the books. How many more lives will be lost before Indiana acts?”

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.