(BALTIMORE, MD, 4/12/18) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded an overwhelming vote by Maryland lawmakers in favor of legislation that strengthens hate crime laws in that state.
Maryland lawmakers vote to broaden hate crime law
Sponsored by Senator John Astle, Senate Bill 528 -- Criminal Law Hate Crimes Group Victim -- aims to prohibit a person "from committing certain acts against another person or group because of another person's or group's race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, or because another person or group is homeless."
The bill was deemed necessary after an incident in Anne Arundel County last year when two teenagers hung a noose at Crofton Middle School. They were arrested on several charges, including Maryland's hate crime statute.
While one teen pleaded guilty, the other fought charges and was acquitted. In a controversial move, the judge ruled then that the statute -- which previously only referenced hate crimes against individuals -- was too vaguely written and did not specifically encompass hate crimes against groups of people.
Recently, CAIR supported a resolution drafted by the Caucus of African American Leaders calling on Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) to take immediate action after a series of disturbing, bias-motivated incidents targeting African-American students in the county’s school system, including:
• an AP class essay written by a student suggesting extermination of the Black race • a racist petition circulated by “Kool Kids Klan” - a thinly veiled reference to the KKK • swastikas and racial slurs discovered on school property • nooses hung on school property
The civil rights organization has reached out to the school system to offer assistance with trainings to promote civility, tolerance, and inclusivity.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
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