Ramadan celebrations underway amid rising anti-Muslim crimes
NEWARK, Calif. - State Attorney General Rob Bonta was in Newark Friday night for a Ramadan celebration and while there, he also addressed the rise in hate crimes against Muslims in California.
Bonta says he came to Newark to show his support to Muslims and talk about what he’s doing to ensure that Californians from all backgrounds feel safe and free from crimes of hate.
"I have been committed as Attorney General to take on hate and to be the people’s Attorney. What I mean by that, whatever your fights are, whatever the people’s fights are, those are my fights," said Bonta
On the first Friday of Ramadan, Bonta spoke to Muslim Democrats and Friends of Alameda County, a Bay Area political action committee, and others in the Muslim community at Mehran Restaurant in Newark.
"I’ve been working in this space to address racial injustice. We created the Racial Justice Bureau…first of its kind, to take on the forces of hate, to make sure people aren’t being attacked because of who they are, where they’re from, how they look, how they pray," Bonta said.
According to MDF, Muslims are the second most targeted group for religious-based hate crimes in California and they say post-911, incidents of hate against Muslims have continued to grow. Now the group believes it’s time all communities come together to fight back against hate.
"Ninety percent of the people are going to be very happy about that but you’re also going to have that one percent of people who don’t really understand the value of diversity in the community. Just because we have one of the highest concentrations of Muslim Americans here in the Bay Area, it leads to more issues in that vain," said Aziz Akbari, Muslim Democrats and Friends Co-Founder.
Ramadan began Wednesday in the United State and it’s a time for Muslims to realign themselves spiritually through fasting, prayer and celebration. The president of Muslim Democrats and Friends says even during this sacred time, people still have to address issues that are facing the community.
"He’s worked with C.A.I.R. which is the Council on American Islamic Relations on specifically the topic of hate crimes and the recent hate crimes in California. He’s bringing attention to it and showing us that this is happening in our communities. He’s finding ways for us to resolve these issues," said Seema Badar, Muslim Democrats and Friends Club President.
The State Attorney General says his office is providing guidance on how to better identify and investigate hate crimes. He says over 50% of hate crimes in California are never investigated and that’s something he says needs to change.