On Feb. 16, a Muslim man, by the name of Mustafo Ayoubi, was shot and killed in Indianapolis after being the victim of road rage and the recipient of anti-Muslim slurs. The sister of Ayoubi made it known that she desired for a hate crime investigation to take place. But the state of Indiana is one of five states that does not have a hate crime law. As Indiana faith leaders we are saddened by this event and hold Ayoubi’s family in our prayers. We also add our collective voice to call for hate crime legislation to be enacted.
Our faith traditions share the belief that all persons are created in the image of God and are created with inherent dignity and worth. This understanding makes it all the more imperative that hate crimes legislation be enacted that is thorough, just, and reflective of the diverse humanity that makes up our communities.
We strongly urge our elected officials to pass legislation that will define what constitutes a bias-motivated crime and include specific classes that are protected by the law. Crafting legislation that offers specific language to address crimes related to race, gender, and sexual orientation is crucial to all feeling safe and at peace. We especially urge our elected officials to ensure that the statute they pass protects people on the basis of gender identity, since transgender people in our communities are among the most vulnerable of God’s beloved children. All Hoosiers deserve the safety and protection of a hate crime law that is specific and clear.
We are grateful for our elected officials and hold them in prayer as they craft this needed law. May such legislation underscore the dignity of all whom God has created and reflect our proud history of Hoosier hospitality.
Rev. Chad R. Abbott, Conference Minister
Indiana-Kentucky Conference, United Church of Christ
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis
Rev. Sara Dingman, Synod Executive
Synod of Lincoln Trails, President Church (USA)
Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop
Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Douglas Sparks, Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana
Rev. Richard L. Spleth, Regional Minister
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana
Rev. Taylor Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter
Whitewater Valley Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, Archbishop
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis
The Rev. Dr. Julius C. Trimble, Bishop
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church