Lynch to Visit Mosque Amid Spike in anti-Muslim Hate Crimes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting a mosque in Virginia next week amid a sharp increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

Lynch is scheduled to visit the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling on Monday morning.

She will travel to New York City the following day for a discussion with gay, lesbian and transgender youth at Harvey Milk High School and to visit the Stonewall Inn and Stonewall National Monument.

It will be her first visit to a mosque in her role as attorney general.

FBI statistics released last month show reported hate crimes against Muslims rose by 67 percent in 2015 to their highest number since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. There were 257 reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias in 2015, compared to 154 the year before.

In a video statement issued last month, Lynch said the spike in hate crimes and the new numbers should be “deeply sobering for all Americans.” She said some of the acts have happened in schools and others have targeted houses of worship.

“We will continue to enforce our nation’s hate crimes laws to the fullest extent possible,” Lynch said. “We will continue to uphold our conviction that all men and women deserve to lead lives of safety and dignity. And we will continue to champion the values of diversity and inclusion that have always been the bedrock of our nation’s progress, and that point the way to a brighter future.

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