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New York Attorney General Mobilizes to Battle Trump-Inspired Hate Crimes

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is mobilizing state law enforcement offices to combat a rise in Trump-inspired hate crimes, against religious and ethnic minorities and gays. (Photo: Getty)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is mobilizing state law enforcement offices to combat a rise in Trump-inspired hate crimes, against religious and ethnic minorities and gays. (Photo: Getty)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today (Nov. 17) ramped up statewide efforts to crack down on hate crimes inspired by Donald Trump’s election, vowing to protect religious and ethnic minorities, women, gays and immigrants from attacks.

He launched the effort with an “urgent bulletin” to law enforcement offices that provides guidance and support to “identify, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes.”

“As the state’s top law enforcement officer, let me assure anyone who is feeling scared or threatened at this time that this office stands behind you and has your back,” he said in a statement.

“New York’s diversity is our greatest strength, and we will not allow anyone to turn that strength against us,” he added.

Schneiderman pulled together community leaders and advocates for a roundtable discussion about the rise in hate crimes and harassment targeting immigrant communities scorned by Trump during the campaign.

Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University said Muslims had been subjected to more than 200 incidents across the country that qualify as hate crimes.

“Now, more so than ever it is important for all of us from diverse backgrounds to unite,” he said.

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The District Attorneys Association of New York, which represents the state’s 62 county prosecutors, also applauded Schneiderman’s effort.

“This will be an important tool for law enforcement and district attorney offices across the state,” said Association President Thomas Zugibe. “I look forward to sharing this with my fellow district attorneys.”

Like other states around the country, New York has seen a rise in the appearances of Nazi swastikas and anti-Muslim slogans on college campuses, public property, churches, synagogues and mosques.

“The spate of anti-Semitic vandalism that has struck communities from upstate New York to the boroughs of New York City is deeply concerning,” said Evan R. Bernstein, New York Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League.

Bernstein said fear and anxiety have been on the rise since the presidential election.

Even mainstream religious groups like The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York are making a commitment to combat hate violence.

“We cannot allow a ‘new normal’ of hate, anger, and derision to be considered an acceptable means of dealing with disagreement and difference,” said Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.

The gay community has also seen an uptick in hateful rhetoric and acts of violence.

“There has been a troubling wave of hate-motivated violence in the wake of the recent election, including against LGBTQ people,” said Human Rights Campaign’s Government Affairs Director David Stacy.

“The tragic impact of these hate crimes is felt by families, friends and entire communities, creating fear and instability that ripples across the country — including right here in New York.”

Other groups supporting the initiative include the New York Immigration Coalition, the New York Board of Rabbis and the Asian American Federation.

Hate crimes – also known as bias-related crimes – are offenses that target individuals because of their race, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump ran a divisive campaign that drew support from racist groups like the Klu Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and so-called extremist “alt-Right” groups.

At various times during the campaign, Trump also demonized immigrants, Muslims and Jews. He’s vowed to deport as many as 3 million illegal immigrants during the first 100 days of his term.

Steve Bannon, a key Trump adviser and executive chairman of Breitbart News, a far-right American news, opinion and commentary Web site, has also been sharply criticized for anti-Semitic, racist and misogynistic views.

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