A Muslim rights group held a meeting Tuesday evening in Hernando County to discuss hate crimes.

A Hernando County politician and his wife recently made some anti-Muslim remarks, and Ahmed Bedier, the head of Tampa’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said he held the forum to educate the public on the contributing factors and consequences of hate crimes.

Capt. Michael Maurer of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office says having a meeting was a good idea, even though hate crimes aren’t a big problem in the county.

“And we’re okay with that,” Maurer said. “I mean, we’re lucky that hate crimes are not a front issue burner that we have to address. That’s a good thing and we like that.”

According to the sheriff’s office, there were five reported hate crimes in Hernando County has had few hate crimes in recent years.

Hernando County in 2004. In 2005, there were two and so far there haven’t been any in 2006.

Representatives from the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the sheriff’s office also attended the meeting.



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