Thursday, April 13, 2017

Republicans in Wisconsin refuse to recognize, reject rise in hate crimes — an unfortunate, though unsurprising, circumstance

Is anyone in the Republican Party courageous enough to say they reject hate?

A woman was harassed and beaten this week in Milwaukee, simply for being Muslim and wearing a hijab.

This woman did nothing to provoke her attacker (not that it matters). Instead, a white male who was driving past her on Monday morning simply ordered her to take her garment off. The woman, who was just leaving a prayer service, refused. So the man got out of his car, and proceeded to beat her.

From Wisconsin Public Radio:
Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition President Janan Najeeb said she met with the women after the attack. Najeeb said the attack should be treated as a hate crime.

"He grabbed her scarf and tried to take her scarf off of her head," Najeeb said. "She was holding on to it but then he started beating her on her head and he pulled the scarf off. Then she fell to the ground and he began kicking her."
It is disgraceful and gut-wrenching to hear about this attack. And there should be no confusion: this was a hate crime.

State lawmakers from Milwaukee, Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sen. Chris Larson, both condemned the attack.

“We must continue to stand up against the misguided hate and violence being fueled by a loud but small minority,” they said in a joint press release. “Keeping America on the path of inclusion and opportunity depends on us standing up against hate each time it seeks to divert and diminish us.”

The lawmakers, who are both Democrats, also took their colleagues from across the aisle to task for failing to sign onto a resolution earlier this year that would “show solidarity with our Muslim neighbors.”

The petition calls on lawmakers to reject “language and policies targeting people based on their faith.”

Not a single Republican lawmaker, from either the Assembly or the Senate, signed on.

It is incredibly discouraging and frustrating, but perhaps not all that surprising, that Republicans refuse to sign on to this supposedly controversial issue of rejecting hate. After all, when Republicans in the state complain about a class at UW-Madison that seeks to evaluate and examine white supremacy, why should we be surprised that they don’t think legislative action is warranted on crimes targeting minorities?

This is the same Republican Party of Wisconsin, mind you, that also repealed requirements that local law enforcement keep data on traffic stops to ensure racial profiling wasn’t happening in the state.

It is unfortunate that it would actually be more surprising to see Republicans take a proactive role on this issue, to see at least one member of the Republican delegation in the state legislature recognize the rising trends of hate crimes occurring since Donald Trump was elected president, and to say, “I reject this.”

One would think that should be the least they could voice outrage at these attacks on American citizens. Instead, their silence instead speaks volumes.

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