April 20, 2012 (Washington, DC) – Over 90 members of the United States Congress, led by New York Congressman Joseph Crowley, issued a letter to the Justice Department this week, demanding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) track anti-Sikh hate crimes.
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. Thus, the federal government has no means of tracking hate crimes against Sikhs. Under current federal policy, victims of anti-Sikh hate crimes are not even given the dignity of being a statistic.
The letter, spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition, is also significant in that it represents the single biggest show of support for a Sikh issue in Congressional correspondence. In light of this overwhelming show of Congressional support for the Sikh community, 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.
We are grateful to Congressman Crowley and his colleagues in the U.S. Congress for advocating on behalf of Sikhs. California Congressman Wally Herger issued a separate letter on behalf of his constituents. The Sikh Coalition also thanks the Sikh American community for making phone calls and sending emails to Congressional offices in support of this initiative. Your voices made a difference.