Friday, December 01, 2006

More hate crimes in Michigan

DETROIT, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has warned about the rising number of hate crimes in the state in recent weeks.

"I am personally alarmed at the recent spike in particularly egregious alleged hate crimes in Michigan, Linda V. Parker. director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, said in a statement Wednesday.

"Over the last few weeks Michigan residents have reported several serious alleged hate crimes," Pasker said.

"In Van Buren Township on Oct. 23, an African-American couple returned from a trip to find their residence severely vandalized, including racial slurs and threats spray-painted onto the walls," Parker said.

"In Grand Rapids on Nov. 11, an Asian man was beaten and remains in a coma following an incident created by racially derogatory remarks directed at the man and his friends," she said.

"While we will leave the investigation of the criminal allegations to local, state and federal law enforcement authorities, the department will be engaged in victim and community support in the wake of these tragedies. It is our hope that all involved perpetrators are brought to justice, and that residents and leaders in Michigan act quickly to confirm that acts of hate will not be tolerated," Parker said.

Parker also condemned what she said appeared to be an anti-Muslim attack against a Detroit man on Nov. 27.

"The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is again compelled to speak out against any and all acts of hate," she said.

According to a press release issued by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, the men physically attacked a Detroit Muslim. They also yelled anti-Muslim and anti-Arab epithets at him.

"Although all acts of violence are unfortunate, targeting victims based on religion and ethnicity has a chilling effect on all members of that community," Parker said.

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