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Faith, ethnic communities call for Indiana hate crime law

Posted at 10:24 PM, Nov 18, 2016

Within in the past week and a half, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports more than 700 hateful harassment and intimidation cases around the country have occurred.

Officials at the center reported they noticed an uptick in these cases since Election Day and Indiana isn’t excluded from them, with 10 of their own cases.

That is why groups are urging lawmakers to implement a state hate crime law.

Several hundred people worship at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, but as of lately, it has turned into a place for discussion amid reports of children being bullied at school, and recent vandalism.

"It really feels like we have been through a trauma, regardless of our political bent,” said Rabbi Brett Krichiver. "It feels like this election and clearly very negative rhetoric has torn communities apart."

Krichiver said some of his youngest congregants said they’ve been threatened at school because of their religion, with some of those adopted being accused of coming from a different country and being taunted about returning.

“The only solution to those kinds of problems is to be in relationship -- to reach out, to understand each other, to partner with schools, to partner with legislators and to make sure we not only know each other and understand each other but we're willing to work together for what we believe in,” said Krichiver.

The incidents aren’t isolated to the Jewish community.

Since Election Day, a Bean Blossom church was vandalized with racial slurs and anti-Semitic remarks, someone spray-painted a swastika and “KKK” on Bloomington’s B-Line Trail and sometime within the past two weeks, someone smashed windows on the MLK Dream Team’s Freedom Bus.

“People are afraid of where do we go from here. But, we accept the outcome of what's happened, and we're not going anywhere,” said Rima Shahid of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.

Those in need of help can utilize the Immigrant Welcome Center's resources.

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