Earlier this month, an FBI Advisory Policy Board (APB) recommended that the Bureau separately collect and report hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus as part of its annual national data collection program mandated by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (HCSA).
The Anti-Defamation League welcomed the decision. The League had supported collecting these separate categories since 2008 – and had promoted the action in an August 2012 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and in comprehensive testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, 2012. And, in May, the League coordinated a letter to APB members from 79 national civil rights, religious, education, civic, and professional organizations urging this action.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation witnessed an increase in attacks against Americans who appeared to be of Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. The tragic bias-motivated murders of six Sikh worshippers at their Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August is one of the most recent examples.
Sadly, there is substantial evidence that these communities have been targeted for violence and vandalism because of their religious practices, appearance, and apparel – including distinctive beards, turbans, traditional forehead art, or head coverings.
ADL will now work with FBI and the Department of Justice to update their HCSA training manual and to work with the affected communities to provide education, training, and outreach for law enforcement officials about these crimes.