Hate Rising Against Jews

The FBI last month released its annual national audit of reported hate crimes for 2006.

What stood out is that of the 1,567 offenses motivated by religious bias, 1,027 were anti-Jewish or 64.3 percent of all religious hate crimes. That’s a 14 percent increase of anti-Semitic offenses from 2005.

Anti-Semitic crimes have ranked No. 1 for the past 10 years. For the past three years, the gross number of hate crime offenses have ranged from 900 to 1,027.

Not surprisingly, offenses against Muslims spiked beginning in 2001. Prior to 9/11, crimes against Muslims totaled about 30 a year. That increased to 481 in 2001 — a 1,500 percent hike — and now for the past three years have ranged from 146-191. Nationally, anti-Muslim hate crimes rank No. 2.

One would hope that tolerant minds would prevail in our modern society, but that does not seem to be the case. What can be done to stem the tide of any act of hate and bigotry?

Perhaps the major tool we have to fight hate is education. In this spirit, last week the Jewish Light published a special magazine, Building Bridges: Creating Connections Between Faiths and Races, which highlights the positive interactions between all people in St. Louis.

We commend organizations — such as the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Community Relations Council, the Interfaith Partnership, the National Conference on Community and Justice, Faith Beyond Walls, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress, as well as countless others — which devote most of their energies to combating anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry by emphasizing education and outreach.

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