SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, is combatting the rise in religiously-motivated hate crimes by passing tough new punishments on criminals who target worshipers at churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious houses.
“The people viciously attacking our churches, synagogues and mosques cannot be met with anything but the firmest resistance,” Hernandez said. “These violent crimes are the actions of terrorists determined to disrupt one of our most basic rights. People need to be free to pray without fear of harm coming to them or their families. The increasing number of assaults on places of worship are making that impossible.”
Hernandez is backing House Bill 38, which strengthens sentences for a murder committed in a church, mosque, synagogue or other place of worship. Additionally, injuring a person in a religious institution will now carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison, and carrying a gun or other weapon into a house of worship with the goal of harming someone will carry a punishment of up to 7 years in prison.
“It’s sad that legislation like this is necessary,” Hernandez said. “However, when places of worship are no longer safe, we have to act. With the aid of the brave men and women in law enforcement, we can bring these tragic events to an end.”