As these crimes show no sign of abating, the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities must work together with other minority communities that have faced, or are facing, similar discrimination and hate crimes.
“No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love,” President Obama movingly said. “No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are, or because they live with a disability.”
The federal government must address hate crimes in a meaningful way. A major hate crimes bill, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes/ Matthew Shephard Act, quietly vetoed in 2007 during Christmas break by President Bush, has passed the House of Representatives, and is up for a vote by the Senate.
Protection of minority groups is the test of a democracy. Women, disabled people, and gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals are all still too often attacked simply for who they are. In 2007, there were 1,265 hate crimes against gays and lesbians, up 6 percent from the year before, according to the FBI.