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WASHINGTON – The Latest on a Senate hearing on religious hate crimes (all times local):
A Justice Department official says better data on religious hate crimes is needed to fully address the problem.
Eric Treene, the department's Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination, told lawmakers Tuesday that discrepancies exist in data collected by different agencies. He says FBI numbers are an undercount because reporting is voluntary and not all law enforcement agencies submit figures to the bureau.
Still, Treene says numbers are not needed to fight the obvious problem. Treene was speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the department's response to a recent rise in religious hate crimes.
Treene says an internal committee is discussing all aspects of the problem, including ways to better track it. He says a June "summit" on the issue will involve local law enforcement and religious leaders.
Civil rights and law enforcement leaders are planning to tell lawmakers about a spike in religious hate crimes in the U.S.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will also hear from a Justice Department official on ways to address the problem. One of the groups set to testify is the Anti-Defamation League, which released a report last week that found an increase in cases of anti-Semitic intimidation and vandalism last year.
The hearing comes after this year's wave of more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools. Authorities arrested an Israeli Jewish hacker who they said was behind the harassment.
Eric Treene of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division says data also shows a recent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes.