The Honorable Grace Chung Becker
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Acting Assistant Attorney General Becker:
We write to commend the Justice Department on its successful prosecution of W. Patrick Syring on federal criminal civil rights charges for threatening employees of the Arab American Institute.
In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the nation witnessed a disturbing spasm of violent attacks against American citizens who appeared to be of Muslim, Middle Eastern, or South Asian descent. The Department successfully prosecuted several of these cases – prompting a significant decline in the number of attacks. This case is another demonstration of the need for appropriate hate crime prosecutions to address these crimes.
Even as our nation grapples with the continuing threat of domestic security and international terrorism, no one should be singled out for harassment, prejudice, or intimidation based on his/her race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or national origin. The positive outcome in this case sends a strong message that the United States will not turn a blind eye to prejudice and intolerance – even
from within its own ranks.
We very much appreciate the leadership of the Department of Justice in ensuring that the interests of justice were served in this case.
Deborah M. Lauter
National Civil Rights Director