Necessary Bill Would Close Loophole Denying Justice to Hate Crime Victims like the Abu-Salhas and the Barakats
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Justice for Victims of Crimes Act, a bill that would permit someone to be convicted of a hate crime when bias was a substantial motivation. Currently, hate crime convictions are typically only seen when a crime committed was motivated solely because of bias against the identity of the victim. This means that families like the Abu-Salhas and the Barakats—whose children were brutally murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by a man who hated them—see perpetrators not get convicted of a hate crime because other motivations may have also been involved. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain:
“Thank you, Senators Klobuchar and Murkowski for taking this necessary action to close this egregious loophole in our hate crime laws. The Victims of Crimes Act will help ensure that victims of hate crimes and their families finally get the justice they have been wrongly denied for so long.
My heart breaks each time Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha tells the story of how his daughters Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, as well as his son-in-law Deah Barakat, were murdered in cold blood by a man who regularly commented on their religious garb and threatened them. It’s unthinkable that someone would have to endure such a massive loss and also suffer the indignity of seeing the justice system lose sight of the dangerous bias behind that crime.
No family should have to go through what the Abu-Salhas and the Barakats experienced. Hate crimes, like any other crimes, are rarely the result of one singular motivating factor and our laws must account for that. I urge Congress to act on this necessary bill now and help future families receive the justice they deserve.”
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.