SF D.A. Gascon reaches out to Muslim community

- The San Francisco District Attorney reached out to the Muslim community on Friday to reassure them that his office will not tolerate Islamophobia and hate crimes.

District Attorney George Gascon spoke at the Islamic Society of San Francisco following a Friday afternoon prayer. Gascon said although there have been no specific cases of hate crimes against Muslims in San Francisco, there is an uptick in hate crimes nationwide.

“We recognize that there is a lot of anxiety with many communities,” he said. “The immigrant community, the Muslim community, many other communities are very worried about the increase in hate crimes.”

According to an FBI report released in November, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose 67 percent in 2015. Gascon said hate crimes are often under reported.

Muhammed Alabi, President of the Islamic Society of San Francisco said Gascon helped to calm fears.

“I think he made people feel a little bit more comfortable,” Alabi said. “Maybe perhaps half of the membership has been on edge since the election.”

Hala Hijazi with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission said some in the diverse congregation fear the unknown after president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and fear his rhetoric and future plans.

“What kind of laws might be pushed and even if there is no law, it’s the perception that you’re not welcome in this country,” she said.

But Hijazi is rooted in her faith and her faith in people to fight against Islamophobia.

“We really do preach generosity, and love, and faith, and loving your neighbor, and also respecting the laws of the land that you are in,” she added.

Gascon’s community outreach will be ongoing. He plans to meet with undocumented immigrants at different places of worship in the coming weeks.

The district attorney’s office has set up a multilingual hate crime hotline. Anyone can report hate crimes, and remain anonymous, by calling 415-551-9595.

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