United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that her “greatest fear” following the Paris attacks and the mass shooting in San Bernardino is violence against members of the Muslim religion in retaliation.
At the Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner, the Attorney General expressed concern over the “incredible disturbing rise of anti-muslim rhetoric” and said to the Muslim community that “we stand with you in this.”
“We cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on,” Lynch said at the dinner.
According to Politico, Lynch did not address the December 2 San Bernardino, California, mass shooting, in which 14 people were killed, at the dinner. She did mention the November 13 Paris attacks, saying that for the people of Paris and France in general, the attacks are “really their 9/11.”
Since the attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, there has been an increase in crime against Muslims and mosques all over the United States. There have been several reported instances of vandalism, threats, and even shots fired at mosques across the country since November 13.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called to register Muslim Americans after the Paris terrorist attacks and said that the San Bernardino shooting appears to be linked to “radical Islam terrorism.” Muslim community leaders are now worried that this rhetoric will create new extremes of discrimination against the Muslim people.
Lynch said that she shares those same concerns with members of the Muslim community, but vowed that she, with the help of the Department of Justice, will do whatever she can to protect Muslims from violence and discrimination.
“When we talk about the First amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American,” Lynch said at the dinner, according to Buzzfeed. “They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”
“My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is ‘We cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on,’” Lynch added.