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Blumenthal Presses For No Hate Act As FBI Reports Rise In Hate Crimes

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Senator Richard Blumenthal renewed his call for passage of legislation to strengthen federal laws that combat bias-motivated threats and attacks.

The Democratic lawmaker from Connecticut made the call after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released new data showing increase in hate crime incidents in the country.

FBI says that a 4.2 percent increase in bias-motivated criminal attacks and a 6.3 percent increase in such offenses were reported throughout the United States in 2016 in comparison to the previous year.

"This data is particularly alarming given dramatic underreporting of hate crimes, meaning that the real incidence of bias-motivated crimes is likely much higher than what was released today," Blumenthal said in a statement.

Following a national surge in hate crimes, Blumenthal and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced bicameral legislation earlier this year to improve reporting and expand assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes.

The National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act is aimed at helping combat the recent surge in hate crimes by helping victims seek justice in the courts, improving reporting of hate crimes, establishing hate crime hotlines and rehabilitating perpetrators of hate crimes through education and community service.

Law enforcement agencies reported 6,121 criminal incidents that were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity, according to Hate Crime Statistics - 2016 released by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program Monday.

57.5 percent of the hate crimes were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, while religious bias was the motivation behind 21 percent.

There was a total of 7,615 victims of hate crimes, which included Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Sikhs.

However, the Sikh community disputed the FBI figures, saying that just seven anti- Sikh hate crime incidents cited in the 2016 report represents "the tip of the iceberg."

FBI statistics indicated that almost one-quarter of the victims of anti-religious hate crimes in 2016 were Muslims.

by RTT Staff Writer

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