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Attorney General Loretta Lynch Speaks on Rising Hate Crime

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Attacks on places of worship, women and even children are up in Maryland and across the country.

Monday General-Secretary Lynch spoke to an audience at a muslim society center, saying if one person or group is a target, it is something affecting us all.

The number of crimes fueled by hate of religion, race and sexual orientation, has jumped.

In Maryland, the hate and bias crimes from 2015, were 203, that's up 31 percent from the year before.  4 in Baltimore City, 12 in Harford County, 22 in Anne Arundel County, 29 in Howard County and 49 in Baltimore County.

"We're encouraging people to take self-defense classes, especially in this kind of climate where you don't know what to expect when you walk outside the house," said Dr. Zainab Chaudry of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"It's easy to talk about the numbers and the statistics, and the report is out, but behind every number there is a person. Behind every statistic, there is someone whose rights are violated," said Lynch.

In response to the increased hate crimes in the country, the madam attorney says the role of the Department of Justice has become more urgent in recent years. Especially when it involves muslims, mosques and islamic centers.

"When one of us is threatened, we all have to speak out, regardless of the discomfort it may call upon us. When one of us is in harms way, we're all in harms way," said Lynch.

Lynch ensures the audience, including children, the Department of Justice is working on these issues. That the FBI is working with local authorities and agents and prosecutors are looking into whether these cases violate federal laws.

"Because hate crimes target more than just the individual at that time, they target the fabric of our communities. They also stain our dearest ideals; they stain our nation's very soul," she said.

"We get to decide the type of america we want to live in. This is not who we want to be. This is not the best we can be," said Dr. Karsonya Whitehead of Loyola University.

The recent number of anti-muslim incidences is the highest since 2001, following the September 11 attacks.

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