City leaders to vote on tougher penalties for hate crimes - Tucson News Now

City leaders to vote on tougher penalties for hate crimes

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Tucson City Council is set to vote on a new ordinance Tuesday that would allow higher consequences for hate crimes.

The new ordinance that would make assault, vandalism and threats to people for their religion, race or gender a misdemeanor offense punishable by minimum fines and jail time.

In the last month, there have been several bomb threats at the Jewish Community Center.

[READ: UPDATE: Tucson JCC given all-clear after 2nd bomb threat in 2 weeks]

And just last week, the Islamic Center of Tucson was broken into and vandalized.

[READ: JUST IN: Video of suspect in Islamic Center vandalism released]

But while police treat this as a hate crime, the ICT is calling for justice. 

Tucson News Now sat down with Taha Hasan with the ICT. 

He said while the proposed ordinance is a step forward, what the Muslim community would really like to see is an understanding of their culture and religion. 

Dozens of the ICT's holy books were destroyed in the vandalism.

"[The] Quran is holy for us, but at the end of the day, it's text in a book. It's easy to reprint those and replace those... you can't replace human lives and when those are taken away through hate crimes, that's a big deal,” Hasan said.

He said one of the main things the Quran teaches is peace and mercy. 

At the Jewish Community Center, CEO Todd Rockoff said the unsubstantiated threats only made the community stronger.

“There’s a very clear message that these kinds of incidents are just not okay," he said.

READ the proposed ordinance in its entirety here: http://bit.ly/2nNUO3e

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