Leaders discuss legislation to battle rising hate crimes

Leaders of several Chicago area racial and religious organizations say they are terrified by the growing number of hate crimes and domestic terrorism attacks in the country.

On Friday, they met with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who is sponsoring legislation to force federal agencies to do a better job tracking those incidents.

Leaders of a dozen minority and religious organizations told Senator Durbin the hate is ratcheting up.

"When does this cross the line into domestic terrorism?" Durbin asked.

The meeting took place at the Chicago Loop Synagogue, which was itself the victim of an attack two years ago.

"Our windows right over here were broken. It was very clearly a hate crime. They put Nazi stickers on our doors,” said Lee Zoldan.

Just last weekend, some Orland Park residents found white supremacist literature on their doorsteps.

"Hate has no home here. We've all seen our places of worship under attack. People live in fear. They're constantly told you're not welcome here,” said Sufyan Sohel of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Senator Durbin is proposing legislation requiring the justice department and FBI to revamp the way they account for hate crimes, which he believes are drastically under-reported.

"Currently there's a battle under way about statistics and who's going to keep them and how to define them. We can't get lost in that. We have to look at the reality of the violence and vandalism and even death as a result of hate crimes,” Durbin said.

The Anti-Defamation League says incidents of white supremacist propaganda being distributed in Illinois are up 24-percent in the past year.

"We're living in a moment where every marginalized community in the United States is at risk,” said David Goldenberg of the ADL.