Surge in hate crimes against Muslims topic of community discussi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Surge in hate crimes against Muslims topic of community discussion

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The Islamic Center of New Haven received a threatening letter earlier this month. (WFSB photo) The Islamic Center of New Haven received a threatening letter earlier this month. (WFSB photo)
WINDSOR, CT (WFSB) -

A lawmaker and local Muslim leaders gathered on Friday to hold a community discussion about what they called a surge in hate crimes.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined leaders from the Connecticut Muslim community to bring light to the nationwide trend.

The discussion included Blumenthal and Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of CAIR-CT.

The discussion was scheduled after the New Haven Islamic Center received a disturbing letter addressed to "the children of Satan" in which president-elect Donald Trump's name was invoked. The letter also threatened to "do to Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews."

There is a prayer service at every Friday afternoon at the Islamic Center of Connecticut in Windsor

Close to 600 Muslims are members at the mosque.

"The president-elect appointed national security advisor General Flynn who suggested a ban on Muslims into the country," Senator Richard Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal noted that he feels some of Trump's appointments will have a difficult time winning Senate approval.

Muslim residents said with recent threats, it's scary times for them.

Blumenthal said similar letters were sent to mosques throughout the country.

He said hate crimes have increased 10 percent over the last year. Sixty-seven percent of those crimes were against Muslims, according to the FBI.

Civil rights groups and advocates have reported a further spike in hate crimes and speech since last month's election.

Blumenthal plans to draft legislation to punish those guilty of hate crimes. It would implement tougher penalties on offenders.

Fatma Antar of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut said he is surprised by the uptick.

"All of a sudden, wow. There are so many people who think like that. They hate others," Antar said.

Amina Masri said just this week her daughter, who was harassed in school because of her religion.

"The school took care of the issue but still I need to address it. It's a bigger issue," said Masri.

The discussion kicked off at 11 a.m. at the Islamic Center of Connecticut in Windsor.

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