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'We are in a religious crisis,' Miss. faith groups tell head

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'We are in a religious crisis,' Miss. faith groups tell head of Homeland Security
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Okolo Rashid, co-founder of Intl. Museum of Muslim Cultures
MPB News

The head of Homeland Security discusses white supremacy and its role in domestic terrorism across the country at a forum in Jackson. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan calls the recent mass shooting in Texas was an act of domestic terrorism. McAleenan spoke at a forum in Jackson yesterday about preventing violence against faith-based groups.

"The attack in el Paso and the violent white supremacist ideology that inspired it offends us all. We must address it with moral clarity. It is hate. It is domestic terrorism and it must be resisted together by Americans of all races, ethnicities and faiths," said McAleenan.

According to the FBI, faith-based hate crimes have gone up 23 percent across the country.

Some faith organizations attended the forum. Okolo Rashid is co-founder of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson. She says more Muslims, particularly those of African American descent, should be included in this national conversation.

"Because we know the total African American community has experienced terror pretty much all of our lives," said Rashid.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Bolton also spoke. He says there needs to be a stronger effort to prevent targeted violence in rural communities like Issaquena County, which he says has a population of about 3,000.

"So you have to think, not only of the urban centers but the rural communities absolutely need the benefit too so I would encourage you too look at how when funds are made available how do you roll out the opportunity? Do you make it easy for communities and organizations to participate," said Thompson.

Local law enforcement say they don't want people afraid to leave their homes but they say it's getting to that point. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.