SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – People committing religiously-motivated hate crimes would face stricter punishments for targeting people in places of worship under a bill supported by state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City.
“We have to fight against the increasing spread of hate groups and the violence they are bringing to our religious institutions,” Jones said. “Vicious criminals are inflicting tragedies on our churches and our mosques and our synagogues, and it is passed time to crack down on their actions.”
Jones 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.
“People attending houses of worship increasingly have to fear for their safety and for the safety of their families,” Jones said. “While some politicians in Washington want to ignore the alarming rise in violent hate crimes, this bill sends the message that this extremism has no place in Illinois.”