US Attorney General Loretta Lynch reassured Muslim American citizens that she would take action against any "anti-Muslim rhetoric" that "edges toward violence."
Speaking at the Muslim Advocates' 10th anniversary dinner on Thursday, Lynch said her "greatest fear" is about the "incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric" in the U.S., according to the Daily Wire.
"The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence," she said.
"Now obviously this is a country that is based on free speech," Lynch said. "But when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric—or, as we saw after 9/11, violence directed at individuals who may not even be Muslims but perceived to be Muslims, and they will suffer just as much—when we see that we will take action."
According to her, the Justice Department will investigate the Texas police department that arrested a 14-year-old Muslim identified as Ahmed Mohamed who brought a device that looked like a bomb to school, WND reported. Several congressmen asked Lynch for an investigation.
Lynch made the comments following the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shooting where a Muslim couple managed to stash some $30,000 worth of weapons and bombs and launched the deadly attack at the San Bernardino County Health Public Health Department in California, killing 14 people and wounding another 21.
Syed Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, were shot dead after exchanging gunfire with the police.
Lynch noted that the U.S. Constitution does not protect "actions predicated on violent talk."
"I think it's important that as we again talk about the importance of free speech we make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America," said Lynch. "They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted."
She told the Muslim advocacy group that "we stand with you."
"My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is, 'We cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on,'" said Lynch.