Spread of Hate Crimes Has Lawmakers Seeking Harsher Penalties

Source: The New York Times

The anonymous email arrived on a Saturday afternoon, its message jumbled, misspelled, in capital letters. It was not addressed to a specific individual at the Birmingham Islamic Society. Rather, its hateful message was directed at African-Americans, Mexicans and Muslims in general.

Three words stood out: “run or die.”

About 10 miles away, the telephones on the campus of the Levite Jewish Community Center rang four times in six weeks with bomb threats, the third call resulting in the evacuation of children just after morning prayer at the day school.

The interfaith threats were enough to prompt the introduction of a bill in the Legislature expanding Alabama’s hate crime law to include threats against religious institutions and schools.

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