RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin has issued an executive directive to combat antisemitism and other anti-religious bigotry across the state of Virginia.
Executive Directive Six will serve to create a plan for coordination across law enforcement entities and educational institutional threats to combat threats of violence against Jewish people and other religious communities.
According to Youngkin’s office, the executive directive is in direct response to increased reports of anti-religious bigotry across the country in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month.
“Hatred, intolerance, and antisemitism have no place in Virginia,” Youngkin said in a statement Tuesday. “As Governor, the safety and security of all Virginians is my paramount concern. Virginia is the birthplace of the freedom of religion in America, and protecting the community centers and houses of worship of the Jewish people is paramount. But this commitment extends to all religions, including those of the Muslim faith, who are increasingly concerned about backlash.”
According to the governor’s office, a specialized situation room will be introduced to increase information and resource sharing between law enforcement agencies across the state. Virginia State Police’s Virginia Fusion Center will also “operate at a heightened state” to identify threats against faith-based communities faster. Grants to organizations facing religious or ethnic persecution will also be expedited.
Colleges and universities across Virginia will provide comprehensive safety plans to the Center for School and Campus Safety. The executive directive will also instruct school divisions to “promote awareness of resources promoting the safety of their students, especially Jewish students.”
In one of his first executive orders, Youngkin announced plans to create the Commission to Combat Antisemitism. The panel’s report found there was an alarming national trend of increasing hate toward the Jewish community, and Virginia has not been spared.
In May, Youngkin signed a bill formerly adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of “Antisemitism” into Virginia law.