R 095
2015 -- H 5745
Enacted 02/26/2015

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Ackerman, Regunberg, Amore, Shekarchi, and
Date Introduced: February 26, 2015

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island was founded on the premise and promise of religious freedom.
Rhode Island's founding father Roger Williams was a passionate believer in ‘Soul Liberty' and
famously stated that "no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter, shall be anywise
molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question for any real differences in opinion in matters
of religion but that all persons may enjoy their own judgments and consciences in matters of
religious concernments." These wise words are part of the very foundation of a civil society. Over
the years, many good men and women have perished in order to protect these precious freedoms
and liberties, both at home and abroad; and
     WHEREAS, In recent years, there has been an increase in religious based hate crimes
aimed at Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of other faiths. We witnessed the murders of
cartoonists in Paris, France, which were vicious examples of anti-Semitic hatred being
perpetrated against French Jews, and culminated in the death of seventeen innocent people. In the
United States, three Muslim students attending the University of North Carolina were recently
murdered; and
     WHEREAS, It is time for all Rhode Islanders to honor the principles promulgated by
Roger Williams that helped to form our great state by speaking out loudly and condemning recent
hate crimes including Swastikas and portraits of Hitler painted at a bus stop in Providence, hateful
graffiti painted at the Islamic School of Rhode Island, and all other forms of "hatred" found in
public venues; and
     WHEREAS, The freedom to worship the religion of one's choice, or to choose not to be a
religious believer, is a basic human right that should be available to everyone. An attack on any
one person or group based on religious belief is an attack on every single one of us. Turning a
blind eye and doing nothing about these acts of hate emboldens those who would use violence
and intimidation tactics to deny people this basic human right. Our founding fathers understood
just how important this principle is and stated this in the first article of the Bill of Rights; and
     WHEREAS, Leaders across the globe have united in opposition to the recent increase in
hate crimes based on religious belief. The President of the United States, the Pope, and the
leaders of countries from Egypt and Jordan to France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Great Britain
have strongly denounced the recent spate of hate crime violence. Hate crimes have no place in a
civilized society. It is time for freedom loving people across the globe to unite and speak out
against these crimes; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations hereby strongly condemns all hate crimes and all forms of religious
bigotry. We stand in strong support of the great principles and the vital human rights, including
freedom of religion, which unite all Rhode Islanders; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, Barack
Obama, the Rhode Island Congressional delegation, the Governor of the State of Rhode Island,
Gina Raimondo, the Principal of the Islamic School of Rhode Island, Assalamu Alaikum wa
Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh, and the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.