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CAIR Offers Testimony on Hate Crimes Bill in Maryland State Legislature

(Baltimore, Md., 1/17/20) – Yesterday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations offered testimony in support of a hate crimes bill being considered again in the Maryland General Assembly that would make it illegal to depict or display a noose, Nazi swastika or other hate symbols without consent, on public or private property, with the express intent to intimidate an individual or group.

SEE: House Bill 5 – Hate Crimes – Use of An Item or Symbol to Threaten or Intimidate (Maryland General Assembly 2020 Session)  http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2020RS/bills/hb/hb0005F.pdf

SEE: Anne Arundel County leaders speak in support of strengthening statehate crime laws

https://www.capitalgazette.com/politics/ac-cn-hatebill-20200116-20200116-ul27peg23fbqbnlxiiyya5xtau-story.html

The bill, re-introduced by Delegate Mark Chang, is intended to close loopholes that exist in the current statutes, and was prompted in part by an increase in hate crimes specifically in Anne Arundel County.

“Delegate Chang’s bill is a step in the right direction to make Maryland a place where everyone feels safe and protected,” said CAIR’s Legislative Intern for Maryland Outreach Eimaan Imran, who testified. “If this billpasses, we will be one step closer to making sure our state is truly a welcoming place for all.”

“According to expert witness testimony, based on current Maryland statutes, someone could walk onto public or private property that does not display a ‘no trespassing’ sign, hang a noose, pencil hateful messages onto the wall, and still not be prosecutable,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “As hate crimes continue to plague our society, lawmakers must act to close these loopholes and help protect targeted communities from threats and intimidation.”

Other witnesses who testified in support of the bill include Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, and representatives from the ACLU of Maryland, NAACP Maryland StateConference, and other organizations.

If it passes, the bill would make such crimes punishable by fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to three years. If the act leads to the death of a victim, the crime would be punishable by fines up to $20,000 and 20 years in prison.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensióndel Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT:CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com, 410-971-6062

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