October 19 2023 (New York, NY) — Today, the Sikh Coalition is announcing the release of a newly created resource for law enforcement agencies titled ‘Guide to Investigating and Prosecuting Bias/Hate-Motivated Crimes Against Sikhs.’
Our more than 20 years of legal and advocacy work, as well as years of data from the FBI, have shown conclusively that Sikhs are disproportionately vulnerable to hate crimes and bias incidents. Unfortunately, many crimes of this nature remain uninvestigated, unprosecuted, or unreported due to the lack of understanding exhibited by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices regarding bias against the Sikh community. It is crucial for law enforcement to comprehend how and why Sikhs are targeted, how hate crimes and bias incidents affect entire communities, and how proper application of the law is essential to securing justice and building trust with marginalized communities.
This new resource is an effort to proactively address these issues and ensure better protection under the law for our community. If you or your gurdwara has a preexisting relationship with local law enforcement, we encourage you to share the guide with your contacts: you can find it for free on our website here.
Written by our team of expert attorneys, this guide includes six major sections. The first section provides essential background on Sikhism for a non-Sikh audience. The second defines what a bias/hate crime is and lists applicable laws related to their prosecution. The third part outlines the kinds of hate crimes committed against Sikhs in the past 20 years. Part four focuses on challenges in recording data about hate crimes. The fifth section explains how police investigators and prosecutors must engage with the Sikh community in a culturally competent manner. The final section includes case studies—both real and hypothetical—for law enforcement to review so that they can learn to detect specific details that matter in hate crime incidents that involve Sikhs. The guide concludes with a visual glossary that defines, and most importantly, depicts, many terms and phrases that are related to Sikhism.
The Sikh Coalition will continue to create resources for partners both in and out of government in order to share vital information about the challenges and opportunities facing the Sikh community. Just this week, we released our analysis of the FBI’s latest hate crimes data; we also re-published resources for community vigilance and safety in light of current national and international events. In the meantime, we remain committed to providing pro bono legal support for sangat members who experience acts of bias, bigotry, and backlash.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.