SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In his fight to end anti-Semitism, hate speech and all other forms of religious hate crimes, state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, supported a measure that establishes penalties for people who commit crimes against people of faith.
“No one should fear for their lives when they gather with their religious community to pray, celebrate and serve their broader community,” said Carroll. “Churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship should be safe spaces for gathering. This bill targets religiously motivated crimes and allows our places of worship to be sanctuaries.”
The Carroll-backed House Bill 38 enhances aggravating factor in sentencings for murders and assaults committed in a place of worship and against people of faith. This bill expands current law that stipulates aggravating factors are included in sentencings when the target of an attack is a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or child under the age of 12.
In Illinois alone, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 31 known hate groups, some of which include Nazi-sympathizers like the Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls and the America First Committee. There are more than 1,000 hate groups nationwide.
“We must be vigilant against those who hold hate in their heart for certain religious communities. Increasing the punishments for these despicable crimes is essential to ensuring everyone has the right to peacefully worship,” said Carroll. “I will always stand to denounce all types of hate crimes and will continue to fight for laws that protect everyone regardless of race, religion or gender.”