RELIGION

Attorney General: Hate crimes are stain on America's "soul"

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016, file photo Attorney General Loretta Lynch takes a question during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Hate crimes tear at the fabric of American communities and represent a stain on the country’s soul, Lynch said at a mosque and Muslim community center on Dec. 12. Lynch spoke at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center as law enforcement across the country confronts a spike in hate crimes targeting Muslims. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016, file photo Attorney General Loretta Lynch takes a question during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Hate crimes tear at the fabric of American communities and represent a stain on the country‚Äôs soul, Lynch said at a mosque and Muslim community center on Dec. 12. Lynch spoke at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center as law enforcement across the country confronts a spike in hate crimes targeting Muslims. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)  (The Associated Press)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says hate crimes tear at the fabric of American communities and are a stain on our "nation's very soul."

Lynch spoke Monday at a mosque in Virginia amid a large spike in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

Recently released FBI statistics show a 67 percent surge in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, the highest total since the year of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Lynch told the audience that the "sobering" increase in violence should alarm all Americans.

In an apparent reference to the incoming administration of President-Elect Donald Trump, Lynch said she recognized people's concerns that the progress the government has made in protecting civil rights could be rolled back.