Madison forum to focus on combatting hate crimes

CREATED Sep. 11, 2013

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Wisconsin committee will hear testimony from hate-crime experts and community leaders, as part of an effort to prevent hate-related crimes such as last year's Sikh temple shooting.
   
The meeting will be Thursday in Madison, convened by the Wisconsin State Advisory Committee. That's a state committee that reports to the federal Commission on Civil Rights.
   
The forum was prompted in part by the Milwaukee-area shooting in which a white supremacist killed six Sikh worshippers.
   
Speakers will include Rick Esenberg of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. He says he doesn't want investigations of hate crimes to cross the line into targeting protected speech.
   
Mark Potok is with the Southern Poverty Law Center. He says the number of hate groups nationwide grew from 600 in 2000 to 1,000 last year.