FBI Director: Religious Hate Crimes Against Jewish Population ‘Wildly Disproportionate’
Wray made the remarks at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s hearing on Tuesday.
FBI Director Christopher Wray this week said that the number of anti-religious attacks on Jewish people has increased in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war and is “wildly disproportionate,” considering the community’s minority status in the United States.
Wray made the remarks at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s annual “Threats to the Homeland” hearing on Tuesday.
When asked by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney whether it was true that of “attacks of a religious nature” in the U.S., “some 60% are directed towards Jews in this country,” Wray confirmed the figure. He added that that number was calculated “before [the Israel-Hamas war] began” last month and said he would “expect” it’s gone up since then.
Law enforcement doesn’t “have good numbers yet because it’s so fresh,” Wray said.
“But I think that the point that I was trying to make there, which I really think Americans need to understand, is how wildly disproportionate, if you could ever use a word like proportionate in something like this, that is: 2.4% of the American public [is Jewish], [yet they are victims of] 60% of religious-based hate crimes,” he said.
The FBI director said the attacks were coming “from racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists,” including “ISIS-inspired violent extremists” and “foreign terrorist organizations, whether they be Sunni, like al-Qaida or ISIS, or Shia, like Hezbollah.”
“And so this is a group that has the outrageous distinction of being uniquely targeted,” Wray said. “And they need our help.”
Wray said that “people — eyes and ears in the community” can play a role in alerting law enforcement to suspicious activity, “letting us know when they see something of concern so that law enforcement can take appropriate action.”
“And that’s why we spend so much time engaged in outreach to state and local law enforcement as a force multiplier, to the faith-based community, as a force multiplier, in effect, and to the private sector,” Wray told the committee.
“People sometimes overlook that piece, but some guy goes into Home Depot and wants to buy a bunch of ball bearings and fertilizer and doesn’t seem to know anything about what either one could be used for,” he said.
“We want the guy in Home Depot calling law enforcement saying something’s off,” he added.