President Biden on Monday issued a message to Americans concerned over potential violence in the United States amid the Israel-Hamas war, saying he asked his team to prioritize handling any emerging threats.
“To those Americans worried about violence at home, as a result of the evil acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas in Israel, we see you. We hear you,” Biden said in a statement.
“And I have asked members of my team, including Homeland Security Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and Attorney General [Merrick] Garland, to prioritize the prevention and disruption of any emerging threats that could harm Jewish, Muslim, Arab American, or any other communities during this time. My Administration will continue to fight Antisemitism and Islamophobia,” he added.
The president’s message comes after the FBI released annual statistics that showed antisemitic hate crimes rose 25 percent from 2021 to 2022 and that antisemitism accounted for more than half of all reported religion-based hate crimes last year. It also showed that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes rose, and that Muslim Americans and African Americans were also victims of hate crimes.
“The data is a reminder that hate never goes away, it only hides. Any hate crime is a stain on the soul of America,” Biden said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned that a rise in violent extremism could be incoming amid the ongoing fighting after Hamas launched its deadly attack on southern Israel last week, prompting Israel to declare war.
Garland announced earlier Monday that he will open a hate crimes investigation into the killing of a 6-year-old Muslim boy in Illinois that police say was motivated by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The sheriff’s office said investigators determined the child and his mother were “targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.” Biden condemned the attack Sunday night, saying he is “shocked and sickened” by it.
Source: The Hill