August 4, 1999

Hate crimes against Hispanic
churches said to be increasing

___HOUSTON (RNS)--Hate crimes directed against Hispanics and their houses of worship are rising, according to a report released July 26 by a prominent Hispanic advocacy group.
___The National Council of La Raza report documented cases of church burnings, alleged abuses by law enforcement and other violence toward Hispanics.
___NCLR President Raul Yzaguirre released the report, "The Mainstreaming of Hate," at a Houston news conference during the group's annual meeting.
___The report found that hate crimes against Latinos are rising. It also identified an "emerging pattern of hate-related activity in Hispanic places of worship."
___The study noted that "24 Hispanic places of worship throughout the country are on the list of church arson sites to be investigated" by authorities.
___The report gave the La Luz del Mundo Church in Walhalla, S.C., as an example. After a 1995 fire, a 14-year-old white boy admitted to torching the structure, saying he "dislikes Mexicans."
___The National Church Arson Task Force, the National Coalition for Burned Churches and the NCLR are currently looking into confirmed church arsons that may be hate-related, according to the report.

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