Kansas City reassures residents after spike in religion-based hate crimes in Missouri

Hate Crimes graphic

Some Missourians fear an increase in hate crimes in the wake of a six-year-old’s murder in Illinois this week – an incident authorities say was motivated by the Israel-Hamas war. The U.S. Department of Justice’s current hate crime fact sheet finds that religion-based hate crimes in Missouri have more than doubled since 2019.

Captain Corey Carlisle of the Kansas City Police Department said there are no immediate safety concerns for Kansas City metro area residents. “We closely monitor any threats or potential threats that could be targeting members of our community. If we receive any information that there is a potential for violence towards a certain person, place, or thing, KCPD will implement extra patrol and security measures to ensure the safety of all of our community members,” Carlisle said.

On Thursday, the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR canceled its 29th annual banquet. The hotel scheduled to host the event this weekend – in Arlington, Virginia – has received multiple threats targeting the hotel, its staff, CAIR, and American Muslims.

The most recent DOJ statement involves hate crime threats made this week in North Carolina toward Muslims. And the FBI has just released detailed 2022 data on over 11 million criminal offenses nationwide, including religion-based hate crimes.

Yasir Ali, CAIR Missouri Chapter Board Chair, said it is being proactive and planning talks about guidance with authorities around the state. “There is the fear, especially what happened in Chicago, with a six-year-old that was stabbed 26 times,” Ali said. “The community is in fear. It’s nothing based on evidence at this point – like, within Missouri – but overall, there is this fear of an increase of Islamophobia.”

In August, a Missouri man was sentenced to prison and damages for hate crime and arson violations, after pleading guilty to burning down the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center in 2020.