The Department of Justice is investigating two recent, high-profile anti-Muslim incidents, TPMmuckraker confirms.
A DOJ spokeswoman says the department has opened investigations into the attack on a Muslim cab driver in New York City and an apparent arson at the site of a future mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“The Department is investigating these matters with local authorities,” said the spokeswoman, Xochitl Hinojosa.
Although it hasn’t happened yet this time, the Justice Department has in the past created task forces for dealing with apparent hate crime waves. In the 1990s, a spate of church fires in the South lead to the Church Arson Task Force, which found that some of the fires were racially motivated against African-Americans. After Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush DOJ Civil Rights Division began an “Initiative to Combat Post-9/11 Discriminatory Backlash” to make sure potential hate crimes against Muslims were prosecuted.
Department officials reportedly met recently with an interfaith coalition, including Muslim groups, worried about the apparent increase in anti-Muslim sentiment, and more meetings may be in the works.
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly.