In remarks to Arab-Americans, attorney general vows to vigorously prosecute hate crimes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder promised the Arab-American community on Friday that the Justice Department will vigorously prosecute hate crimes and he said an ongoing dialogue between law enforcement agencies and Arab-Americans is one of the Obama administration's top priorities.

"The era of 'us versus them' that some of you have experienced must end. At long last, it is ending," Holder told the 30th anniversary conference of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Holder also said that "racial profiling is wrong."

The attorney general said an internal Justice Department review is under way of a 2003 directive banning racial profiling at all 70 federal agencies with law enforcement powers.

Critics say the Bush-era guidance has loopholes that essentially allow the government to engage in profiling when it is deemed necessary for national security.

Racial profiling "is, quite simply, bad policing — whatever city, whatever state," the attorney general said.

He said the department is committed to ensuring that department policy allows performance of core responsibilities on the law enforcement and national security fronts with legitimacy, accountability and transparency.