WASHINGTON (April 24, 2012) — Over 90 members of the United States Congress, led by New York Congressman Joseph Crowley, have issued a letter to the Justice Department, demanding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) track hate crimes suffered by Sikh Americans.
The letter, spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition, represents the most extensive show of support ever for Sikhs in a letter from Congress. Although Sikhs continue to experience hate crimes because of their distinct religious identity, the FBI treats all bias crimes against Sikhs as anti-Muslim hate crimes. For these reasons, the federal government has no means of tracking hate crimes against Sikhs.
“Under current federal policy, Sikh targets of hate crimes are not even given the dignity of being a statistic,” said Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition. “The Sikh Coalition hopes that the Justice Department and FBI will finally honor our community’s request for recognition. Doing so will increase hate crime reporting, improve the quality and accuracy of hate crime data, and strengthen relationships between Sikhs and local law enforcement agencies nationwide.”
In the first month after the 9/11 attacks, the Sikh Coalition documented over 300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans throughout the United States. More recent incidents include the murders of two elderly Sikhs in Elk Grove, California in March 2011. Because the FBI does not track these crimes, exact figures are unavailable to diagnose the full extent to which Sikhs are targeted.