SAALT calls on Biden campaign to condemn Islamophobia and Hindu Nationalist violence

Recent­ly, legit­i­mate con­cerns have arisen about Amit Jani, the AAPI Out­reach Coor­di­na­tor on Joe Biden’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, regard­ing his con­nec­tions to the BJP and sup­port of the Modi Admin­is­tra­tion, which has unleashed vio­lence aimed at Mus­lims, Dal­its, and oth­er minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions. Amit Jani was a par­tic­i­pant in SAALT’s Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI) in 2012. We hope that our alum­ni will always take a stand against hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asian com­mu­ni­ties in the U.S. and glob­al­ly. 

As a non-par­ti­san orga­ni­za­tion (c3), SAALT is pro­hib­it­ed from tak­ing posi­tions about peo­ple who are either run­ning for elect­ed office and/or con­nect­ed to polit­i­cal cam­paigns. Nev­er­the­less, we are allowed to ask a cam­paign to share its posi­tions on issues of con­cern to our com­mu­ni­ties. Our com­mu­ni­ties have been per­son­al­ly and direct­ly impact­ed by the ris­ing tide of state sanc­tioned anti-Mus­lim vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion in India and Kash­mir as well as in the U.S. We ask the Biden cam­paign to con­demn Islam­o­pho­bia and Hin­du nation­al­ist vio­lence across the world and acknowl­edge the impact it has on South Asian com­mu­ni­ties every­where. 

As an orga­ni­za­tion root­ed in val­ues of dig­ni­ty and inclu­sion, we believe that South Asians hold­ing posi­tions of polit­i­cal influ­ence must be respon­sive to the most crit­i­cal issues in our com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing Hin­du nation­al­ism and Islam­o­pho­bia. When it comes to hate vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion, neu­tral­i­ty is not an option.

FBI Releases 2018 Hate Crimes Report: Hate in the U.S. is getting deadlier

Novem­ber 12, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: The Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) released its annu­al hate crimes report for 2018 ear­ly this morn­ing. The report doc­u­ment­ed 7,120 hate inci­dents in 2018, down slight­ly from 7,175 in 2017. Despite the minor decrease, hate vio­lence was more dead­ly and vio­lent than it has been since the surge of vio­lence against com­mu­ni­ties after the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks in 2001.

Major find­ings of the report:

  • 2018 was the deadliest and most violent year for hate since 2001. There were 24 hate crime relat­ed deaths and 3,099 vio­lent crime offens­es in 2018.
  • Hate crimes towards Sikhs in the U.S. TRIPLED from 20 inci­dents in 2017 to 60 inci­dents in 2018.
  • There were 82 Anti-Arab hate crimes recorded in 2018 -  the second-highest total since the FBI added an anti-Arab category in 2015.
  • There were 188 anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded, down slight­ly from last year but the fifth-highest total on record.
  • There were 14 anti-Hindu hate crimes record­ed in 2018 — down from 15 in 2017.
  • Of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white​ 

Data col­lec­tion and under­re­port­ing of hate vio­lence remains a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem. The Fed­er­al Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics reports an aver­age of 250,000 hate crimes every year in the U.S. That’s 35 times more than what the FBI doc­u­ment­ed in 2018. Only 13% of the over 16,000 par­tic­i­pat­ing law enforce­ment agen­cies report­ed any hate crimes in their juris­dic­tions. Dis­turbing­ly, the mur­ders of Khalid Jabara, Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la, and Heather Hey­er in 2016 and 2017, like so many oth­er hate crimes, have not been includ­ed in offi­cial FBI sta­tis­tics. The vast major­i­ty of crimes are going unre­port­ed.

And as we saw in 2017, white suprema­cy con­tin­ues to be a pri­ma­ry moti­va­tion behind hate vio­lence in the US. In both 2017 and 2018, over 50% of known offend­ers of report­ed hate crimes iden­ti­fied as white.

Of the over 500 inci­dents of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asians, Mus­lims, Sikhs, Hin­dus, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­cans thatSAALT has doc­u­ment­ed since Novem­ber 2016, at least 80% have been moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. In SAALT’s 2018 report “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire,” one in every five per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy, or Trump cam­paign slo­gan.

White suprema­cist vio­lence, fanned by the flames of racist rhetoric and poli­cies at the fed­er­al lev­el like the Mus­lim Ban and fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion, con­tin­ues to dev­as­tate Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties. Anti-Black hate crimes account­ed for more than 25% of vio­lent hate crimes report­ed in 2018 and the major­i­ty of inci­dents moti­vat­ed by race.

The cur­rent Admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to pro­mote rather than address the root caus­es of this vio­lence. Com­pre­hen­sive data col­lec­tion is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of doc­u­ment­ing the prob­lem, but acknowl­edg­ing and active­ly com­bat­ing white suprema­cy is the most impor­tant step to ensur­ing this vio­lence does­n’t con­tin­ue to wreak hav­oc on peo­ple’s lives.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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