Currently, a letter is circulating in Congress requesting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) track hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. While the FBI has various categories to track hate crimes, crimes directed at these three communities are not currently tracked and it is crucial that they are added to the tracking form in order to address this problem and keep all communities safe. It takes less than five minutes to ask your Member of Congress to sign-on to this letter.
Long before September 11, 2001, South Asians have endured bias, discrimination, and hate violence against our community. Unfortunately, following the September 11th attacks, these crimes escalated particularly against Sikh, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans in many facets of life. In fact, within just one week of September 11th, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) identified 645 incidents of bias in these communities. On August 5, 2012, the tragic shooting at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin took the lives of six people and was followed by a wave of apparent hate crimes and incidents throughout the country. Sadly, these attacks continue to be an ongoing problem in our community and effectively addressing them has become increasingly difficult.
Part of the difficulty in addressing these alleged hate crimes is due to the fact that they are only partially tracked. According to the FBI, over 6,600 hate crimes were reported in 2010 alone, the majority of which were motivated by race (approximately 47%), followed by religion (approximately 20%), sexual orientation (approximately 19%), and ethnicity or national origin (approximately 13%). Hate crimes in the Muslim community are tracked by the FBI with a notable rise by 1600% from 2000 to 2001. However, hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs are not similarly tracked. These categories do not exist in the FBI’s hate crime tracking form and without fully accounting for the problem, we cannot begin to fully understand or address it.
Currently, numerous organizations, including SAALT, have requested that the FBI add these categories to the tracking form so that individuals can be given the dignity of having these crimes accounted for and so that we can begin as a society to fully address them. Many organizations have submitted requests to the Advisory Policy Board (an arm of the FBI) regarding the inclusion of anti-Sikh, anti-Hindu, and anti-Arab categories in the hate crime tracking form as hate crimes in these communities are rampant. As a part of these efforts, a letter to the Advisory Policy Board is currently circulating for signatories in Congress requesting that these categories be added so that data is collected regarding hate crimes in these communities. Ask your Member of Congress to sign-on as well.