SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A measured backed by state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, D-Chicago, responding to the dramatic increase in hate crimes by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against congregants in churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship recently passed the Illinois House.

“As religiously motivated hate crimes rise, we must take action to crack down on those who commit violence against people who gather to worship,” said Lilly. “All people of faith deserve to be able to practice their religion safely and in peace.”

Lilly backed House Bill 38, which makes murder in a house of worship an aggravating sentencing factor, enhances assault and battery in a place of worship to aggravated assault and aggravated battery and creates an unlawful use of weapons offense for individuals who possess a firearm with the intent to use it against someone engaged in religious activity at a house of worship. Criminals possessing a firearm to commit crimes against worshippers could face up to seven years in prison, perpetrators committing assault or battery against worshippers could face up to 15 years in prison, and murderers who kill religious congregants can receive tougher sentences. The measure is in response to the 23 percent increase in religious-based hate crimes reported by the FBI for 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

“No person should fear being attacked or killed while they worship because of their religion or religious beliefs,” Lilly said. “We must take a stand against hatred and religious intolerance and penalize those who attack religious worshippers.”

Rep Camille Y LillyRep Camille Y Lilly

78th District

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