This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, hate crimes in the U.S. increased overall by 7 percent in 2015, while Muslims experienced a 67 percent spike in hate crimes. Since the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump, more than 437 incidents of harassment or intimidation against minorities have been reported according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Although Trump called on his supporters to "stop it" in a post-election 60 Minutes interview, his campaign featured a robust appeal to white nationalism that has apparently inspired increased verbal and physical attacks on racial and religious minorities.
Utah's conservative lawmakers who wish to separate themselves from this dangerous aspect of the Trump phenomenon should reconsider the hate crime bill introduced by Sen. Steve Urquhart but rejected by the 2016 Legislature. SB 107 required a demonstration of bias as a motive, provided a list of protected classes, and allowed for penalty enhancements as the most effective means of identifying and ending the hate crimes that defy American ideals.
Dee Rowland & Nancy Haanstad
Utah Citizens' Counsel
Salt Lake City