Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2010) – In a letter to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller has issued an apology and clarification for remarks linking Sikh Americans to terrorism at an intelligence conference in the Fall.
In early October, The Washington Times reported statements made by Director Mueller, which singled out Sikh Americans and linked them to extremist groups. SALDEF immediately issued a letter of concern calling for Director Mueller to clarify his remarks and issue a formal apology to the Sikh American community.
In response to SALDEF’s letter of concern, the Office of the Director writes:
“I would like to apologize for, and clarify, any misunderstanding that the account in this newspaper story may have caused. The statement cited was intended to reiterate the FBI’s responsibility for, and commitment to, deterring and investigating terrorist threats and activity. I can assure you it was not meant to single out any specific community, including Sikh-Americans.”
The letter went on to recognize SALDEF’s partnership with the FBI.
“The FBI and you, representing Sikh Americans and communities across the country, have worked closely together and developed an ongoing dialogue on a variety of issues of mutual interest,” the letter stated. “This includes cultural awareness training to agents and professional staff, giving all of us a greater awareness into the struggles and concerns you face in relation to hate crimes and public misconception of your faith.”
“We are pleased that the FBI has addressed this issue promptly, however, this is indicative of the need for greater dialogue with the Bureau,” stated Jasjit Singh, SALDEF Associate Executive Director. “SALDEF will continue to ensure that public officials do not malign or otherwise denigrate the Sikh American community with their comments or actions.”