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.

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

###

 

###

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

###

SAALT Statement on the Rise of Hindu Nationalism

Sep­tem­ber 10, 2019

SAALT is deeply con­cerned by the actions of the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment of India and the impact of its Hin­du nation­al­ist agen­da on not only com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in the region but also South Asian Amer­i­cans liv­ing in the U.S.  

Reli­gious minori­ties and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions in the region have faced high lev­els of dis­crim­i­na­tion and exclu­sion in India, par­tic­u­lar­ly after Mod­i’s recent re-elec­tion.  In Kash­mir, res­i­dents are liv­ing under a 37 day com­mu­ni­ca­tions block­ade and being stripped of both their polit­i­cal rights and human rights;  in Assam, the gov­ern­ment has imple­ment­ed a cit­i­zen­ship doc­u­men­ta­tion sys­tem that delib­er­ate­ly excludes near­ly 1.9 mil­lion peo­ple, most­ly Mus­lims;  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, a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that is diver­gent from the plu­ral­is­tic prac­tices and beliefs of Hin­duism itself.  Hin­dut­va, or right wing Hin­du nation­al­ism, 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.    

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in India, fueled by nation­al­ism and Hin­dut­va, has glob­al impli­ca­tions. For exam­ple, over the past five years there has been a dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of Indi­an nation­als seek­ing asy­lum in the U.SPeo­ple seek­ing asy­lum from per­se­cu­tion range from Sikh polit­i­cal activists to LGBT activists to those fac­ing caste oppres­sion. They flee to the U.S. seek­ing refuge from per­se­cu­tion in India, but often face bru­tal con­di­tions upon arrival to the U.S. SAALT works to sup­port asy­lum seek­ers who are caught in a cru­el deten­tion sys­tem. 

South Asians in the Unit­ed States have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to speak up and take action, espe­cial­ly now giv­en the dire sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir and the upcom­ing trip by Prime Min­is­ter Modi to the Unit­ed States. We urge South Asians to raise aware­ness about the impli­ca­tions and impact of Hin­dut­va, and to lend your voic­es to the cho­rus of peo­ple rais­ing con­cerns. We urge 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.  

###

 

Statement of Concern Regarding April 9 Congressional Hearing on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism

April 8, 2019

Dear Chair­man Nadler and Rank­ing Mem­ber Collins,

We write to share our con­cerns with you and mem­bers of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee regard­ing the April 9 hear­ing on Hate Crimes and The Rise of White Nation­al­ism. We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

On Tues­day, April 9, Con­gress is hold­ing a hear­ing on hate vio­lence and white nation­al­ism.  Accord­ing to the announce­ment, the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee plans to “exam­ine hate crimes, the impact white nation­al­ist groups have on Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and the spread of white iden­ti­ty ide­ol­o­gy.” We believe these are urgent issues and that Con­gress should be pay­ing close atten­tion, espe­cial­ly in light of the rise of hate crimes in the Unit­ed States and the role that domes­tic white nation­al­ist groups have here at home, and on a glob­al scale.

As orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with Mus­lim, South Asian, Sikh, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties, we are deeply aware of how hate vio­lence has become a per­va­sive issue affect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. We are heart­ened to know that the wit­ness list for Tuesday’s hear­ing includes Dr. Abu Sal­ha whose two Mus­lim daugh­ters and son-in-law were mur­dered in a bru­tal hate crime in Chapel Hill, North Car­oli­na in 2015.

How­ev­er, Tuesday’s hear­ing fails to com­pre­hen­sive­ly address the scope and mag­ni­tude of hate vio­lence that dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impacts Black, Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties. Nor does the hear­ing uti­lize an oppor­tu­ni­ty  to unearth the com­plex moti­va­tions behind white nation­al­ism or its effects, includ­ing hate vio­lence. Apart from Dr. Abu Sal­ha, it is not sur­vivor-cen­tered, and the GOP wit­ness list includes sev­er­al indi­vid­u­als whose actions and insti­tu­tions have helped cat­alyze hate crimes, not abate them. For exam­ple, the wit­ness list includes Can­dace Owens, Direc­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Turn­ing Point USA, who tweet­ed “LOL” after the Christchurch mas­sacre and who was list­ed as an inspi­ra­tion in the man­i­festo released by the white suprema­cist who is respon­si­ble for the mas­sacre of at least 50 Mus­lims in New Zealand. The list also includes Mor­ton Klein, pres­i­dent of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­ca who used the slur “filthy Arabs” just last year. It is impor­tant that white nation­al­ism and white suprema­cy are not treat­ed as redeemable ide­olo­gies.

It is unfath­omable as to why wit­ness­es who espouse hate­ful posi­tions and rep­re­sent racist insti­tu­tions would be includ­ed giv­en their active dis­crim­i­na­tion  against Mus­lims and Arabs. Addi­tion­al­ly, the hear­ing does not  thor­ough­ly exam­ine  the var­i­ous and dom­i­nant strands of white nation­al­ism, includ­ing zion­ism; the con­nec­tion between polit­i­cal rhetoric, state poli­cies, and the rise in hate crimes; nor does it include sur­vivors who expe­ri­enced hate vio­lence since the 2016 elec­tion; or gov­ern­ment offi­cials who should be held account­able for how fed­er­al agen­cies and law enforce­ment enti­ties are active­ly address­ing white nation­al­ism and hate vio­lence.

We demand that Con­gress hold sub­stan­tive hear­ings that cen­ter sur­vivors and that unequiv­o­cal­ly reject white nation­al­ism, white suprema­cy, Islam­o­pho­bia, racism, and hate vio­lence in all its forms. Sim­i­lar Con­gres­sion­al hear­ings have fall­en short of exam­in­ing the depth of white suprema­cist hate vio­lence and our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to pay the price. The 2017 FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics revealed an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row, a 17% increase from the pri­or year. This is an alarm­ing upward trend in hate crimes – now con­sis­tent­ly sur­pass­ing the spike imme­di­ate­ly after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001. Sur­vivors of hate vio­lence and big­otry deserve hon­est inquiries and true jus­tice from their elect­ed offi­cials. Con­gress must hold sub­se­quent hear­ings that com­pre­hen­sive­ly con­front and address the pro­lif­er­a­tion of white suprema­cist and white nation­al­ist hate vio­lence.

Signed,

Amer­i­can — Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC)

Arab Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of New York (AAANY)

Arab Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion

Arab Resource and Orga­niz­ing Cen­ter (AROC)

Asian/Pacific Islander Domes­tic Vio­lence Resource Project (API DVRP)

Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights (CCR)

Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR)

DRUM — Desis Ris­ing Up & Mov­ing

HEART Women & Girls

Jus­tice For Mus­lims Col­lec­tive

Mus­lim Anti-Racism Col­lab­o­ra­tive

Mus­lim Social Jus­tice Ini­tia­tive

Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties (NNAAC)

Nation­al Queer Asian Pacif­ic Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Project South

Sikh Coali­tion

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

South Asian Work­ers’ Cen­ter Boston

The Part­ner­ship For The Advance­ment of New Amer­i­cans (PANA)

Unit­ed We Dream

Statement on New Zealand attack: Standing with our communities.

March 15, 2019

We all woke up today to the hor­ri­fy­ing news out of New Zealand. We are shak­en.

Our hearts are bro­ken.

We are mourn­ing and stand­ing with the vic­tims and fam­i­lies impact­ed by this act of mass vio­lence, and all our Mus­lim broth­ers and sis­ters world­wide. We offer our love, sup­port, and sol­i­dar­i­ty.

White suprema­cy, xeno­pho­bia, and Islam­o­pho­bia fueled the shooter’s attack, which killed 49 peo­ple in two mosques dur­ing Fri­day prayers in Christchurch.

As many of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in the US go to Fri­day prayers in their local mosques today, we encour­age every­one to seek the sup­port they need. We’ve includ­ed a list of men­tal health resources and com­mu­ni­ty actions below.

Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy are a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. We know that Islam­o­pho­bia and its rip­ple effects in the US are real and con­tin­ue to deeply affect our com­mu­ni­ties’ safe­ty and sense of belong­ing in the US. More than one in four hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed in our Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report were fueled by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment.

We also know the pow­er of the polit­i­cal bul­ly pul­pit is real, and has a real impact. Of the hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his administration’s poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans as they vio­lent­ly attacked our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. We remain ever com­mit­ted to fight­ing Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy.

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er, said, “Hous­es of wor­ship should be places of refuge and peace, not scenes of a mas­sacre. We are stand­ing with Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties every­where as the world mourns and we seek to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe. As hard as it is not to cave into fear at times like these, we have no choice but to keep fight­ing against Islam­o­pho­bia in all its forms.”

 

Men­tal health sup­port from the Mus­lim Well­ness Foun­da­tion

NYC vig­il

Trag­ic Events toolk­it from the Fam­i­ly and Youth Insti­tute

Fundrais­er to sup­port the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims

Daily Buzz 4.20.2009

1.) Oba­ma names Aneesh Chopra first US Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Offi­cer

2.) U.S. to Sit Out U.N. Con­fer­ence on Racism

3.) From Racia­li­cious. Hoagland’s Hog­wash: Islam­o­pho­bia in the Wash­ing­ton Post

4.) An Indi­an Amer­i­can Oberves East­er in India

5.) “Being Indi­an” and “Being Amer­i­can”: A study of how sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Indi­an Amer­i­cans approach dat­ing