HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–The FBI says ‘hate crimes’ were up 7 percent last year and up 67 percent against Muslims. Here in Connecticut, groups that monitor reports of bias-related incidents say they are up since election day.
Connecticut’s senior U.S. Senator is calling for tougher penalties for hate crimes and calling on President-elect Trump to take a stronger stand.
The rhetoric of the election campaign has apparently unleashed an avalanche of hate speech and hateful graffiti and images here in Connecticut.
Swastikas spray-painted at various locations in Eisenhower Park in Milford are just the latest in what appears to be a rash of hate symbols proliferating around Connecticut in recent days. Since the 1930’s, the swastika has been a symbol of white supremacy because of its use by the Nazis. Another troubling symbol was a man wearing a KKK hood in a video taken at at bonfire party in East Windsor. It is universally considered a symbol of hate.
“Over the the several months leading up to the election, we saw hateful incidents and graffiti in Connecticut towns,” said David Slossberg of the Anti Defamation League. Slossberg says the Anti Defamation League has authenticated additional incidents in Redding, Easton, Wallingford, Watertown and at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks.
“Many parents reported to us their kids being harrassed in schools,” says Mongi Dhaouadi, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. There has been a reported uptick in school incidents since the election. Added Dhoudi, “Calling people names and screaming at them, profanity. They bring the name of Trump and President Trump and ‘go home, you don’t belong here.”
Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal said he plans to introduce a proposal in the Senate to increase the ten years to life penalties for federal hate crimes. In addition, he wants to provide incentives and funding for better reporting of hate crimes and allowing people to report them anonymously.
Blumenthal also said that President-elect Trump has a moral obligation to help rein in acts of hate and bias. “Donald Trump looked at the camera on ’60 minutes’ and said ‘stop it.’ That kind of statement should be repeated again and again and again and it should be backed with action, not just talk.”
The head of the Connecticut Council on American-Islamic Relations says Muslim communities are reluctant to report incidents but implored them today to do so.