South Asian American Organizations Condemn Violence in Delhi

As mem­bers of South Asian orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S. that believe in the val­ues of dig­ni­ty, jus­tice and inclu­sion for all, we are hor­ri­fied by the vio­lence tar­get­ing Indi­an Mus­lims in Del­hi this week.  Since Sun­day, at least 40 peo­ple have been killed and hun­dreds more injured. We are struck by the heart wrench­ing footage of Mus­lims flee­ing their homes, stores and homes burnt to ash­es, the des­e­cra­tion of mosques and vio­lent attacks by mobs on Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties.

What is most alarm­ing is the role of the police in incit­ing the vio­lence and the speech of a local politi­cian from the Hin­du nation­al­ist BJP par­ty warn­ing pro­tes­tors of the bru­tal­i­ty  that would be unleashed on them if they failed to clear the streets before Trump’s vis­it. This is state sanc­tioned vio­lence, as chief offi­cers of the Del­hi police stood behind him in sol­i­dar­i­ty.

 As mem­bers of the Dias­po­ra we can­not be silent.

These events are hor­ri­fy­ing. And dis­turbing­ly, they are not entire­ly unex­pect­ed.  They come after a series of exclu­sion­ary and unjust actions tar­get­ing reli­gious and caste minori­ties and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly since the re-elec­tion of Modi. 

There have been wide scale protests through­out India since the gov­ern­ment passed the inher­ent­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry Cit­i­zen­ship Amend­ment Act, which active­ly cre­ates an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, reli­gion-based cri­te­ria to grant cit­i­zen­ship to select immi­grants and lays the legal foun­da­tion to denat­u­ral­ize mil­lions of Indi­an minori­ties, effec­tive­ly cre­at­ing the largest net­work of con­cen­tra­tion camps in the world. The CAA, in con­junc­tion with the Nation­al Reg­is­tra­tion of Cit­i­zens (NRC) list, effec­tive­ly ren­ders India’s 200 mil­lion Mus­lims state­less

In Kash­mir, Indi­a’s ongo­ing mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion has inten­si­fied since August 5th, when com­mu­ni­ca­tions were cut and the region was placed under an intense crack­down. The Indi­an state has effec­tive­ly silenced Kash­miris and detained thou­sands of peo­ple includ­ing minors and many Kash­miris fear a set­tler-colo­nial project that would change the demo­graph­ics of the region from a Mus­lim-major­i­ty state to a Hin­du-major­i­ty state.

And across the coun­try, there has been a surge in the num­ber of lynch­ings of minori­ties, most­ly Mus­lims, Dal­its and Chris­tians, under Modi’s lead­er­ship.

The Modi gov­ern­ment is imple­ment­ing a Hin­du nation­al­ist agen­da, known as Hin­dut­va, or right wing Hin­du nation­al­ism, which is root­ed in the alarm­ing notion that Hin­dus are racial­ly and cul­tur­al­ly supe­ri­or to oth­ers. Sim­i­lar to white suprema­cy, which South Asians (includ­ing Hin­dus) in the Unit­ed States con­tend reg­u­lar­ly with, Hin­dut­va threat­ens the rights, bod­ies, free­doms, and liveli­hoods of non-Hin­dus in India. 

These suprema­cist ide­olo­gies implic­it­ly and explic­it­ly sanc­tion hate — and put our com­mu­ni­ties in dan­ger- both in the U.S. and in the sub­con­ti­nent.  SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed more than 542 inci­dents of hate vio­lence in the U.S. tar­get­ing Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lim since Novem­ber 2015. 

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in India, fueled by nation­al­ism and Hin­dut­va, has glob­al impli­ca­tions. Over the past five years there has been a dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of Indi­an nation­als seek­ing asy­lum in the U.S. Peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum from per­se­cu­tion range from Sikh polit­i­cal activists to reli­gious minori­ties to those fac­ing caste oppres­sion. The anti-Mus­lim mea­sures in India are a part of a tide of ris­ing Islam­o­pho­bia, and comes as the Trump Admin­is­ra­tion just expand­ed its own Mus­lim Ban.

As South Asian orga­ni­za­tions work­ing toward build­ing pow­er and capac­i­ty with our com­mu­ni­ties, we urge all South Asian Amer­i­cans to under­stand the con­nec­tions between white suprema­cy and Hin­dut­va, to unite around human rights, to sup­port poli­cies that uphold dig­ni­ty and inclu­sion for all, and to denounce hate vio­lence in all its forms.  

We urge South Asians to: ask their Mem­bers of Con­gress to join Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bey­er, Raskin, Omar, Cas­tro, Tlaib, and Jaya­pal; and Sen­a­tors Sanders and War­ren in con­demn­ing the vio­lence tar­get­ing Indi­an Mus­lims, caste oppressed com­mu­ni­ties and Kash­miris (includ­ing co-spon­sor­ing House Res­o­lu­tion 745); to edu­cate them­selves and their own com­mu­ni­ties about the impli­ca­tions and impacts of Hin­dut­va; and show up to the protests at Indi­an con­sulates on Feb­ru­ary 28th and orga­nize their per­son­al net­works, tem­ples, and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions to defund hate and stop sup­port­ing the BJP and RSS now. The time to stop geno­cide is now. 

Signed,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Indi­an Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil (IAMC)

Equal­i­ty Labs 

Stand with Kash­mir

Hin­dus for Human Rights (HfHR)

Sad­hana: Coali­tion of Pro­gres­sive Hin­dus 

DesiQ Dias­po­ra (DQD)

Sakhi for South Asian Women

South Asia Sol­i­dar­i­ty Ini­tia­tive

Stu­dents Against Hin­dut­va (SAH)

Atlanta Kash­miri Com­mu­ni­ty

Alliance of South Asians Tak­ing Action

Burmese Rohingya Com­mu­ni­ty of Geor­gia 

The Sikh Coali­tion 

Coun­cil Of Peo­ples Orga­ni­za­tion 

API Chaya

Desis Ris­ing Up and Mov­ing (DRUM)

South Asians Build­ing Account­abil­i­ty & Heal­ing (SABAH)

India Home

Sikh Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (SALDEF)

Chhaya CDC

Coali­tion of Seat­tle Indi­an-Amer­i­cans (CSIA)

South Asian Work­ers’ Cen­ter — Boston

Nation­al Queer Asian Pacif­ic Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Jakara Move­ment

Adhikaar

South Asian Youth in Hous­ton Unite (SAYHU)

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Administration Acts on Threat to Expand Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan­u­ary 31, 2020

Ear­li­er today, just days after the third anniver­sary of the Mus­lim Ban, the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion struck again by adding six more coun­tries to this racist pol­i­cy. Nation­als of Myan­mar, Nige­ria, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Eritrea will be banned from seek­ing immi­grant visas and nation­als of Sudan and Tan­za­nia will be banned from the diver­si­ty visa lot­tery. While it is expect­ed that Nige­ri­ans will be most impact­ed in num­ber, it is also painful to see that Mus­lim refugees flee­ing geno­cide in Myan­mar will be turned away by our nation just as Jew­ish refugees were decades ago dur­ing the Holo­caust.

“One thing is clear, the Mus­lim Ban was this administration’s first fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion pol­i­cy just days after the pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion in 2017, and it has served as the foun­da­tion­al pol­i­cy for tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or ever since. Since then, we have seen attacks on DACA, TPS, diver­si­ty lot­tery, green cards, pub­lic ben­e­fits, refugees, asy­lum seek­ers, preg­nant women, and more to insti­tu­tion­al­ize a white suprema­cist agen­da,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, SAALT’s Inter­im Exec­u­tive Direc­tor.

Since Jan­u­ary of 2017, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed an uptick in white suprema­cist hate vio­lence aimed at Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lim, includ­ing 350 inci­dents of hate and 200 instances of xeno­pho­bic or Islam­o­pho­bic rhetoric from media out­lets and elect­ed offi­cials. SAALT’s 2018 report “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire” found that Mus­lim women wear­ing hijab and indi­vid­u­als with dark­er skin col­or were more fre­quent­ly the tar­gets of the most vio­lent acts of hate. This runs par­al­lel to today’s expan­sion of the Mus­lim Ban tar­get­ing Mus­lim major­i­ty African nations.

Con­gress has the pow­er to end all of this by pass­ing the NO BAN Act. This leg­is­la­tion would imme­di­ate­ly rescind the Mus­lim Ban and lim­it the exec­u­tive branch’s author­i­ty to exer­cise such wide and unchecked dis­cre­tion in issu­ing racist poli­cies. Today’s expan­sion of the Mus­lim Ban under­scores the need to pass a clean NO BAN Act with zero excep­tions because even the small­est open­ing can unleash such wide­spread destruc­tion.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org
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On Third Anniversary of Muslim Ban, Asian American Organizations Say Pass NO BAN Act

Image

Wash­ing­ton, DC – Three years ago today, the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion placed a trav­el ban on sev­er­al Mus­lim-major­i­ty nations that has con­tin­ued to sep­a­rate and dis­place thou­sands of Mus­lim fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States. The impact of the ban has also pre­vent­ed indi­vid­u­als from access­ing med­ical treat­ment, along with edu­ca­tion­al and pro­fes­sion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties.

To coun­ter­act the Mus­lim Ban, Con­gress­woman Judy Chu intro­duced the NO BAN Act last year, which would end this ban and any oth­er bans based on religous dis­crim­i­na­tion. This year, as the White House threat­ens to expand the Mus­lim Ban to include an addi­tion­al sev­en coun­tries to the list, we stand unit­ed in urg­ing Con­gress to pass H.R. 2214 NO BAN Act to ensure the Trump Administration’s agen­da of dis­crim­i­na­tion can go no fur­ther.

Becky Bel­core, Direc­tor of NAKASEC, said:

To deny entry into the Unit­ed States based on reli­gious affil­i­a­tion or racial iden­ti­ty is racist and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry. Trump’s first iter­a­tion of the Mus­lim Ban sin­gu­lar­ly tar­get­ed Mus­lim major­i­ty coun­tries. This rumored expan­sion strikes at main­ly non-white major­i­ty coun­tries. Trump’s insti­tu­tion of the Mus­lim Ban is couched in moral bank­rupt­cy, Islam­o­pho­bia, and White Suprema­cy. We as a soci­ety and com­mu­ni­ty must do bet­ter. We must reject these racist, anti-Mus­lim poli­cies and ensure that such bans can nev­er exist by pass­ing the NO BAN Act!

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, said:

Insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism like the Mus­lim Ban has not only direct­ly impact­ed thou­sands of Mus­lims whose lives were torn apart because of this racist ban, but it has embold­ened white suprema­cists, sanc­tion­ing their vio­lence aimed at black and brown com­mu­ni­ties. Since the Mus­lim Ban was announced, we have tracked at least 350 inci­dents of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lims, and 200 instances of xeno­pho­bic and/or Islam­o­pho­bic rhetoric from media and elect­ed offi­cials. As this Admin­is­tra­tion threat­ens to expand the destruc­tive Mus­lim Ban and issue addi­tion­al bans on preg­nant women and immi­grants with­out health insur­ance, we must stop this from going any fur­ther by demand­ing Con­gress pass the NO BAN Act imme­di­ate­ly.

Quyen Dinh, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the SEARAC, said:

South­east Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties remain stead­fast in our sup­port of Mus­lim Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and con­tin­ue to denounce the Mus­lim Ban. We must pro­tect the integri­ty of our immi­gra­tion sys­tem by fight­ing against dis­crim­i­na­tion and intol­er­ence with equi­ty and jus­tice. We stand with the Asian Amer­i­can and immi­grant rights com­mu­ni­ty by call­ing on Con­gress to pass the NO BAN Act to pre­vent fur­ther bias­es in our laws and ensure that com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try can con­tin­ue to reunite with their loved ones.”

Con­tacts
Sam Yu, NAKASEC
syu@nakasec.org / 213–703-0992

Sophia Qureshi, SAALT
sophia@saalt.com / 202–997-4211

Elaine Sanchez Wil­son, SEARAC
elaine@searac.org / 202–601-2970

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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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SAALT Statement on 18th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sep­tem­ber 11, 2019 

Today, 18 years after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, we mourn the lives lost that day, and the thou­sands who were and con­tin­ue to be vio­lent­ly tar­get­ed in the ensu­ing “War on Ter­ror.”

Just four days after 9/11, Bal­bir Singh Sod­hi, a Sikh busi­ness own­er, was plant­i­ng flow­ers out­side of his gas sta­tion in Mesa, Ari­zona when he was shot and killed.  We lat­er learned that his shoot­er had report­ed­ly told a wait­ress at Apple­bees “I’m going to go out and shoot some tow­el heads,” and “We should kill their chil­dren, too, because they’ll grow up to be like their par­ents.” This was the first of 645 inci­dents of vio­lent back­lash aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­cans in just that first week after 9/11.

Over the last two decades, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has enact­ed poli­cies repeat­ed­ly jus­ti­fy­ing the racial pro­fil­ing of South Asian, Mus­lim, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and those racial­ized as such. This includes the very cre­ation of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, the Patri­ot Act, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Entry-Exit Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem, Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism, and the Mus­lim Ban to name a few.  These state sanc­tioned poli­cies were his­tor­i­cal­ly per­fect­ed on the backs of oth­er com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, and we can­not sep­a­rate them from the con­tin­ued vio­lence our com­mu­ni­ties face from orga­nized white suprema­cist action. 

Ear­li­er this year, a white suprema­cist killed 51 peo­ple at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Just last month, a white suprema­cist shot and killed 22 peo­ple in a Wal­mart shop­ping cen­ter in El Paso, Texas. SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 500 acts of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and over 270 instances of xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric since Novem­ber 2016 alone.

Despite the par­al­lel efforts to ban, deport, crim­i­nal­ize, and tar­get our com­mu­ni­ties with vio­lence, we still have oppor­tu­ni­ties to reclaim our pow­er:

  • Demand that your Mem­ber of Con­gress REJECT the cre­ation of NEW domes­tic ter­ror­ism charges to fight white suprema­cy. This would only serve to fur­ther harm com­mu­ni­ties of col­or who have always been the tar­gets of such poli­cies.  
  • Join the fight to repeal the Mus­lim Ban by sup­port­ing the No Mus­lim Ban Ever cam­paign and DEMAND Con­gress to pass the NO BAN Act. Stay tuned for more infor­ma­tion on the Sep­tem­ber 24th Con­gres­sion­al hear­ing on the Mus­lim Ban.
  • URGE your Mem­ber of Con­gress to sup­port the Khalid Jabara Heather Hey­er NO HATE Act, a com­pre­hen­sive bill that pro­motes more accu­rate hate crimes data col­lec­tion and would pro­vide sup­port for hate crime vic­tims and their fam­i­lies. It is named in hon­or of two recent vic­tims of hate crimes, whose deaths were omit­ted from the FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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Remembering Oak Creek and all Survivors of Hate Violence

August 5, 2019 

On this day exact­ly sev­en years ago, a known white suprema­cist opened fire with a 9 mil­lime­ter semi­au­to­mat­ic hand­gun in the Oak Creek, WI gur­d­wara, and killed six peo­ple. We are still mourn­ing the dev­as­tat­ing impact of this vio­lence today. Just this week­end, white male shoot­ers claimed 31 lives in El Paso, TX and Day­ton, OH. The El Paso shoot­er pub­lished an online man­i­festo inspired by the mass mur­der of Mus­lims in Christchurch, New Zealand and echo­ing the Trump Administration’s dai­ly onslaught of racist rhetoric and pol­i­cy.    

There were 2,009 hate crimes in 30 of the coun­try’s largest cities in 2018 — the high­est num­ber in the past decade. Last year marked the 5th con­sec­u­tive increase in hate crimes, the steep­est rise since 2015, accord­ing to police data ana­lyzed by the Cen­ter for the Study of Hate & Extrem­ism at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no.

State­ments and repeat­ed con­dem­na­tions are not enough.  White suprema­cist vio­lence is killing peo­ple of col­or and immi­grants. Any elect­ed offi­cial refus­ing to acknowl­edge this prob­lem and con­sid­er leg­is­la­tion that con­fronts this vio­lence is com­plic­it. We demand our elect­ed offi­cials and law enforce­ment agen­cies track the threat of orga­nized white suprema­cy as a sys­temic issue and that they address the root caus­es of hate vio­lence. We refuse to view these as iso­lat­ed inci­dents and will con­tin­ue work­ing to dis­man­tle all sys­tems that per­pet­u­ate this vio­lence, fueled by the ille­git­i­mate white suprema­cist claim to our nation’s stolen land.

We send love to our Sikh fam­i­ly and all sur­vivors of hate on this extreme­ly dif­fi­cult day and for­ti­fy our com­mit­ment to “Char­di Kala” as we fight for jus­tice.

Here’s what you can do today to sup­port sur­vivors of hate: 

*Donate to help sur­vivors and fam­i­lies of vic­tims. The El Paso Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion is accept­ing dona­tions here.

*Offer sup­port local­ly in El Paso here.

*Con­nect with orga­ni­za­tions like Hope Bor­der Insti­tute (@HopeBorder) and NM Comu­nidades en Acción y de Fé (@OrganizeNM) who are offer­ing resources and orga­niz­ing vig­ils for sur­vivors who can­not seek med­ical treat­ment due to fear of being tar­get­ed by immi­gra­tion author­i­ties. 

* Write a let­ter to the edi­tor or essay in your local news­pa­per about ongo­ing hate vio­lence and how it affects us all

* Send a mes­sage of sup­port to the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara

* Con­tact your pub­lic offi­cial and ask them to sup­port the Khalid Jabara & Heather Hey­er NO HATE ACT

#ElPa­soStrong #Remem­berOakCreek

SAALT Welcomes Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 27, 2019 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  SAALT wel­comes Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal (D‑CT) and Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin’s (D‑IL)  intro­duc­tion of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Hey­er NO HATE Act.  Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Don­ald Bey­er (D‑VA) and Pete Olson (R‑TX) intro­duced the com­pan­ion bill in the House. The bill — which pro­motes more accu­rate hate crimes data col­lec­tion and would pro­vide sup­port for hate crime vic­tims and their fam­i­lies — marks a major step in hate crimes leg­is­la­tion. 

Khalid Jabara was killed on his doorstep in Tul­sa, Okla­homa on August 12, 2016. One year lat­er, on the same day, Heather Hey­er was killed dur­ing a protest in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. Both deaths were pros­e­cut­ed as hate crimes, yet nei­ther were report­ed in offi­cial FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics. Both killings were moti­vat­ed by white suprema­cy.  

A coali­tion of com­mu­ni­ty and civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tions have been work­ing close­ly with Khalid and Heather’s fam­i­lies to ensure that fam­i­lies do not have to endure the same pain they have endured.  The first step to achiev­ing this is under­stand­ing the sys­temic under­pin­nings of hate vio­lence and insti­tut­ing more effec­tive ways to man­date hate crime data col­lec­tion. Every lev­el of gov­ern­ment must be held account­able for address­ing the spike in hate vio­lence aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties. The Khalid Jabara and Heather Hey­er NO HATE Act can play an instru­men­tal role in lay­ing this ground­work,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT).  

SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 484 inci­dents of hate vio­lence against South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try since  Novem­ber 2015.  Read the lat­est hate report here

CONTACT: sophia@saalt.org

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Coalition Letter to House Homeland Security Committee: Concerns about Domestic Terrorism Hearing

May 8, 2019

Dear Chair­man Thomp­son and Rank­ing Mem­ber Rogers:

As civ­il lib­er­ties and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, we sub­mit this state­ment for the record in response to the hear­ing on domes­tic ter­ror­ism in order to share our con­cerns about the rise of white suprema­cist and nation­al­ist vio­lence in the coun­try, and to remind the com­mit­tee that com­mu­ni­ties of col­or con­tin­ue to have their free­dom of speech and right to assem­bly cur­tailed under the guise of fight­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism. Before adopt­ing any poli­cies to fight white suprema­cist and nation­al­ist vio­lence, we urge you to con­sid­er how these poli­cies will impact com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.

The term “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” itself has been heav­i­ly politi­cized and cri­tiqued. The politi­ciza­tion of this term has meant that rather than apply­ing a uni­form def­i­n­i­tion, it has instead been applied dif­fer­en­tial­ly and used in par­tic­u­lar to tar­get and crim­i­nal­ize com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and their free­dom of speech, move­ment, and assem­bly.   More specif­i­cal­ly, there has been and con­tin­ues to be, a sys­tem­at­ic bias in the way ter­ror­ism is framed such that it is more read­i­ly applied to cas­es where the alleged per­pe­tra­tor or plan­ner of a vio­lent act is Mus­lim.

Fur­ther­more, the term “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” has often been asso­ci­at­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly by law enforce­ment, with Black and/or, Mus­lim and/or, Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and their allies despite doc­u­ment­ed inci­dents of vio­lence per­pe­trat­ed large­ly by white suprema­cists and right-wing extremists.We are there­fore con­cerned that the reme­dies and inter­ven­tions that come out of this hear­ing will be used to increase tar­get­ing of mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties.

A recent report pub­lished by South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) doc­u­ments hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties from Elec­tion Day 2016 to Elec­tion Day 2017. The report draws a direct line between the Trump Administration’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da and increas­ing attacks, reveal­ing that of the 213 inci­dents of hate vio­lence doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans dur­ing attacks.[1]As the SAALT report made clear, state rhetoric, pol­i­cy, and vio­lence are key to under­stand­ing the rise of white nation­al­ist and white suprema­cist vio­lence. We urge the com­mit­tee to use this hear­ing, and sub­se­quent hear­ings, to exam­ine how gov­ern­ment poli­cies and insti­tu­tions and polit­i­cal rhetoric have fos­tered the rise of white nation­al­ist and white suprema­cist ter­ror.

We also urge com­mit­tee mem­bers to reject Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism (CVE) pro­grams as a rem­e­dy to the rise in white suprema­cist vio­lence. Though often neu­tral on their face, CVE pro­grams have in prac­tice and since their incep­tion under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion pro­filed, sur­veilled, and divid­ed Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. To sim­ply include white suprema­cist groups with­in CVE would not alter the foun­da­tion of the pro­gram, but would strength­en and expand it – and this would like­ly result in Mus­lim youth and com­mu­ni­ties get­ting tar­get­ed even more than before.

More­over, CVE pro­grams are not only prob­lem­at­ic because of their almost exclu­sive focus on Mus­lims, but because they are based on debunked, pseu­do-sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ries that cer­tain “rad­i­cal” ideas lead to vio­lence.[2]As civ­il rights and civ­il lib­er­ties advo­cates have long argued, expand­ing CVE to include white suprema­cy will be inef­fec­tive in fight­ing ter­ror­ism, and harm­ful to com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.[3]CVE pro­grams pro­mote a nar­ra­tive of col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty of Mus­lim and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties, putting them at risk in a way that will not be felt by the major­i­ty White pop­u­la­tion.[4]

We cau­tion that white suprema­cist and right wing vio­lence are less like­ly to be pros­e­cut­ed as ter­ror­ism,[5]and urge the com­mit­tee to take steps to ensure that any report­ed data by rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment agen­cies is reli­able. Required report­ing would also track the num­ber of FBI assess­ments and inves­ti­ga­tions, of each domes­tic ter­ror­ist move­ment defined by the FBI. This data could be rev­e­la­to­ry, and should be made pub­lic.

Fur­ther­more, if the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and FBI have the dis­cre­tion to define and give their opin­ion about each ter­ror­ist move­ment and con­duct a threat assess­ment – dis­cre­tion that would almost cer­tain­ly be biased if either of these agen­cies’ his­to­ries are any indi­ca­tion. There­fore, we are con­cerned that any efforts to “research” threats will lead to increased mon­i­tor­ing, sur­veil­lance, and desta­bi­liza­tion of com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and non-vio­lent activist groups.

Addi­tion­al­ly, we are wor­ried that action to address domes­tic ter­ror­ism could fur­ther embold­en the FBI’s sur­veil­lance of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. To date, the FBI main­tains a nation­wide net­work of over 15,000 infor­mants[6], many of them high­ly paid to infil­trate Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. Accord­ing to Human Rights Watch, from 2001 — 2014, “near­ly 50 per­cent of the more than 500 fed­er­al coun­tert­er­ror­ism con­vic­tions result­ed from infor­mant-based cas­es; almost 30 per­cent of those cas­es were sting oper­a­tions in which the infor­mant played an active role in the under­ly­ing plot.”[7]It is unclear how these injus­tices will be addressed mov­ing for­ward and what the rec­om­men­da­tion will be regard­ing the use of infor­mants to uncov­er or man­u­fac­ture domes­tic ter­ror­ism plots. Thus, we urge Mem­bers of Con­gress to be explic­it about the role of infor­mants and what safe­guards will be put in place to make sure they are not vio­lat­ing the rights of already mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. Data on the num­ber of FBI infor­mants involved in domes­tic ter­ror relat­ed assess­ments and inves­ti­ga­tions should be col­lect­ed and made pub­lic.

We look for­ward to work­ing with the com­mit­tee to ensure that white suprema­cist ter­ror is addressed with­out adverse­ly impact­ing the very com­mu­ni­ties most often tar­get­ed by white suprema­cists. We do not believe that law enforce­ment or intel­li­gence agen­cies need addi­tion­al author­i­ties to address domes­tic ter­ror­ism, but they must be held account­able for ignor­ing some threats and inflat­ing oth­ers.

 

Signed,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Jus­tice for Mus­lims Col­lec­tive

Defend­ing Rights & Dis­sent

Amer­i­can-Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC)

Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice

Asian Amer­i­can Resource Work­shop — Boston

Cam­paign to TAKE ON HATE

Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights

Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR)

MPow­er Change

Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties

Project South

Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Love Project

South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

The Sur­veil­lance Tech­nol­o­gy Over­sight Project (S.T.O.P).

 

[1]Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire, South Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Togeth­er, Jan­u­ary 2018

[2]See Let­ter from Nicole Nguyen & Stacey Krueger, Researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Chica­go, to Mem­bers of Con­gress et al, Con­cern­ing the Ques­tion­able Use of Aca­d­e­m­ic Research to Sup­port CVE Ini­tia­tives (Octo­ber 5, 2016)
and Who Will Become a Ter­ror­ist? Research Yields Few Clues (Matt Apuz­zo, The New York Times, Mar. 27, 2016)

[3]See Let­ter from 53 Civ­il Rights and Lib­er­ties Orga­ni­za­tions Against Expand­ing CVE Pro­grams(Sep­tem­ber 7, 2017)

andState­ment:​ ​AMEMSA​ ​Groups​ ​Oppose​ ​Expansion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Countering​ ​Violent​ ​Extremism​ ​Pro­gram(Sep­tem­ber 7, 2017)

[4]Are Mus­lims Col­lec­tive­ly Respon­si­ble?, 416Labs, Novem­ber 19, 2015

[5]Trevor Aaron­son, Terrorism’s Dou­ble Stan­dard: Vio­lent Far-Right Extrem­ists Are Rarely Pros­e­cut­ed as Ter­ror­ists, The Inter­cept, March 23, 2019

[6]Trevor Aaron­son, The Infor­mants, Moth­er Jones, July, 2011

[7]Illu­sion of Jus­tice: Human Rights Abus­es in US Ter­ror Pros­e­cu­tions, Human Rights Watch, July 21, 2014

13 year old in Critical Condition after Alleged Hate Crime in Northern California

May 3, 2019

Dear Friends, Com­mu­ni­ty Mem­bers, and Allies,

On April 23rd, 13 year-old Dhri­ti was walk­ing back home from the library with her father and broth­er, when a dri­ver plowed into them and sev­er­al oth­er pedes­tri­ans at a busy cross­walk in Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia. Dhri­ti is in a coma after suf­fer­ing major brain injuries and is cur­rent­ly on life sup­port. At least sev­en oth­ers were injured in the crash, all of whom are in sta­ble con­di­tion.

Short­ly after the arraign­ment of the dri­ver, Sun­ny­vale Police Chief Phan Ngo said, “Based on our inves­ti­ga­tion, new evi­dence shows that the defen­dant inten­tion­al­ly tar­get­ed the vic­tims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Mus­lim faith.” The FBI and local law enforce­ment are both inves­ti­gat­ing the crash as a hate crime.

This trag­ic and dis­turb­ing news comes at a month when report­ed hate crimes have been at an all time high. In April alone, SAALT tracked 10 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and 6 instances of xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric. Just days after the Sun­ny­vale crash, a shoot­er killed one woman and injured three oth­ers at the Chabad of Poway syn­a­gogue in San Diego. The same shoot­er is accused of set­ting fire to a mosque in Escon­di­do, CA in March. Glob­al­ly, the impact of hate vio­lence in March and April has been shat­ter­ing. Ear­li­er this month, near­ly 300 peo­ple were killed in church­es and hotels in Sri Lan­ka on East­er Sun­day. The hor­rif­ic attack occurred just weeks after at least 50 peo­ple were killed by a white suprema­cist in New Zealand who named Trump as his “sym­bol of renewed white iden­ti­ty.”

SAALT’s “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire” report draws a direct line between The Trump Administration’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da and increas­ing attacks, reveal­ing that of the 213 inci­dents of hate vio­lence doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his administration’s poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans dur­ing attacks.

This hate survives—and in fact thrives—against a back­drop of racist poli­cies from the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion like the Mus­lim Ban and fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion. This hate knows no bor­ders, race, or creed. This hate is a threat to Mus­lims, and to those racial­ized as Mus­lims. Sim­i­lar to the mur­der of Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la in Olathe, Kansas who was pro­filed as Mid­dle East­ern, Dhri­ti and her fam­i­ly were alleged­ly tar­get­ed because they were per­ceived as Mus­lim.

To Dhri­ti and her fam­i­ly, we stand with you, demand­ing jus­tice and an end to poli­cies and hate speech that have cre­at­ed an ecosys­tem for hate crimes to increase.

Donate to Dhriti’s health­care costs at:  https://www.gofundme.com/helpdhriti

Sin­cere­ly,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er

Alliance of South Asians Tak­ing Action

Coun­cil of Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions — San Fran­cis­co Bay Area 

South Asian Work­ers Cen­ter, Boston

Sad­hana: Coali­tion of Pro­gres­sive Hin­dus

Hous­ton Coali­tion Against Hate

Cal­i­for­nia Immi­grant Pol­i­cy Cen­ter

South Asian Youth Action

Nari­ka: Chang­ing the Way We Live Vio­lence-Free

Sikh Fam­i­ly Cen­ter