INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Less than four weeks from the start of the legislative session, a state senator hopes to make a big change by creating a clearly defined hate crime law in Indiana.
Hate in any language hurts. Aliya Amin tells me her friends and family were targets.
Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said, “It breaks my heart. But at the same time, it gives me motivation to keep going and get this legislation in place.”:
She said that “hate is not OK.”
“It’s not OK to target someone based on color, religion, who they love, who they are.”
She said she believes most hate crimes in Indiana aren’t ever reported, because there isn’t a clear state law.
The Muslim Alliance of Indiana knows of 40-50 crimes within the last year that could be classified as hate crimes across the state against the Muslim community.
Amin said, “We do have reports of women’s hijabs being ripped off. We have reports of mosques being vandalized.”
State Sen. Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, is fine-tuning a bill right now that would create a biased motivated crimes law.
Taylor said, “We should protect people. That’s what government is for. The interesting part about this is it protects everyone.”
The bill would basically clearly define a hate crime and allow a judge to slap on an extra 3-5 years in jail if somebody commits a crime because of a bias against someone or their property.
Taylor said, “It’s clear. You should not be harmed, or your property should not be harmed, based on the fact that you’re a certain ethnic group. That includes those of the majority ethnic group.”
Taylor’s previous bias crime bills have hit roadblocks. Some lawmakers argue the current law works well enough. Still, he’s expecting bipartisan support.
Taylor said, “We will not tolerate this type of activity in the state.”
It is something Amin said she wants to see.
Amin said, “We are totally in favor. I think it’s a long time coming. We applaud Sen. Taylor for getting our ahead of that.”
So, what’s next? Taylor said he is hoping to get a hearing set for the bill soon after session starts. He said if things go as he plans, he hopes his bill will be signed into law by the end of March.