(CNSNews.com) – During an appearance at the Muslim Advocates annual dinner on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said since 9/11, the Justice Department had “over 1,000 investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including rhetoric and bigoted actions,” and more than 45 prosecutions as a result.
“Since 9/11, we’ve had over 1,000 investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including rhetoric and bigoted actions, with over 45 prosecutions arising out of that,” Lynch said at the dinner, which marked the organization’s 10th anniversary. “I think sadly that number’s going to continue.”
Muslim Advocates is a “national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths,” according to its website.
“We’ve also been noticing an uptick in hate crime incidents affecting individuals, our institutions, and in the wake of the Paris attacks, we’ve actually been noticing a disturbing even greater rate of attacks. I was wondering if you could tell us what the Justice Department is doing to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable,” Muslim Advocates President and Executive Director Farhana Khera asked Lynch.
“For us this has been an important issue since 9/11, but I would say in the last several years, as you mentioned most recently, we also have seen this uptick, and it’s incredibly disturbing,” said Lynch.
“In terms of cases, but also investigations and counseling in areas, but where we do see anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions turn into violence, we do take action - criminal prosecutions,” she said. “The Matthew Shepard James Byrd Hate Crimes Act has been incredibly effective for us, but I did want to just note that I think we have … charged 225 defendants with hate crimes offenses over the last six years – most of those in the last three years.
“Since 9/11, we’ve had over 1,000 investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including rhetoric and bigoted actions, with over 45 prosecutions arising out of that. I think sadly that number’s going to continue,” Lynch added.
“I think it’s important, however, that as we again talk about the importance of free speech, we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America. They are not who we are. They’re not what we do, and they will be prosecuted, so I want that message to be clear also,” she said.