Community Alert

Monumental Step Forward in Tracking Hate Crimes Against Sikhs


Washington D.C- With the utmost gratitude, UNITED SIKHS thanks Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) for his efforts to encourage the Department of Justice and FBI to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. To date, the FBI has not collected and tracked hate crimes against these communities, despite serious hate crimes committed against community members especially post 9/11, including: attacks on Sikh owned businesses, murder, "Go back to your country" and “terrorist” shouted and even sprayed on property, a Sikh boy's turban set on fire while he sat in his classroom, an elderly Sikh man gunned down in California, the massacre at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the brutal attack of a Sikh elderly-man just last month in Fresno, and the list goes on.

UNITED SIKHS Staff Attorney, Manmeet Singh enthusiastically said, “This is a great step in the right direction. By doing so, the FBI’s advisory board has sent a message that this country cares for Sikhs. The addition of this new category will provide the requisite statistics to law enforcement on the hate crimes perpetrated against Sikhs. Appropriate steps to tackle these crimes could not be taken in the past because accurate and centralized data was not available. Now that a system is in place, we are very hopeful that this problem will be sternly dealt with; that policies in this regard will be made at the national level and that a sense of security will prevail within the Sikh community.”

In April 2012, Rep Crowley led a letter signed by 93 members of Congress urging the FBI to update the Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699) to include crimes committed against Sikh-Americans. Rep Crowley spearheaded the introduction of a Congressional resolution recognizing the contributions of the Sikh-American community and urging action on hate crimes. In March 2013, he led a letter signed by over 100 members of Congress to the FBI Advisory Policy Board to express strong support to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab-Americans. Last week, Rep Crowley submitted testimony to the FBI Advisory Policy Board reiterating his strong support for updating the hate crimes documentation form and sharing feedback and concerns from his conversations with Sikh, Hindu and Arab American communities over the past year.

“As Co-Chair of the Sikh American Congressional Caucus, I am proud to say that our first official act was to call for the tracking of hate crimes perpetrated against the Sikh community so law enforcement could better respond to and prevent them,” Representative Judy Chu exclaimed. “I am pleased to see that today, the FBI came one step closer to doing exactly that.” Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Representative David Valadao (R-CA), launched the first-ever Congressional American Sikh Caucus in late April. Along with the efforts of Rep Crowley, Sikhs Americans are definitely taking steps in the right direction when it comes to human and civil rights.

UNITED SIKHS advocated persistently about this matter which was first initiated by SALDEF in November 2010 to the FBI.

Fighting for civil and religious rights are daunting tasks because of the vagaries of national and international laws, but UNITED SIKHS will continue, nation by nation, to promote and protect Sikh articles of faith. We encourage the Sikh community to vigorously practice their faith and report any issues in their respective areas that burden the ability to practice their faith. Call 1-888-243-1690 or email us to report any concerns.

UNITED SIKHS thanks the community and Sikh organizations who participated in this effort collectively. There is no doubt that the ultimate sacrifices of those in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and other areas where incidents of violence occurred to convince everyone that Sikhs and other minorities such as the Hindus and Arab Americans should be given their deserved recognition on hate crime forms.

For UNITED SIKHS to continue its efforts (both domestically and internationally), we need your assistance, so please donate. You may donate online or in person to a UNITED SIKHS chapter near you. For details of our chapters, please visit our contact page.

You may read a previous press release on UNITED SIKHS’ advocacy here.

Issued By:
Manvinder Singh
Legal Director
Staff Attorney, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
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