Coalition Urges FBI to Track Hate Crimes Against Sikhs, Arabs and Hindus

May 28, 2013

The broad coalition of civil rights, religious, education, civic, and professional organizations below urges you to support efforts to collect separate data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus as part of the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (HCSA) data collection programs. There is specific, demonstrated evidence that Sikh, Arab, and Hindu individuals and institutions 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.

The FBI has been tracking and documenting hate crimes reported from federal, state, and local law enforcement officials since 1991 under the HCSA. The Bureau’s annual HCSA report now provides the single best national snapshot of bias-motivated criminal activity in the United States. In 2011 (the most recent FBI report available), the FBI documented 6,622 hate crimes reported by over 14,500 law enforcement agencies across the country. Racial bias was the most frequent motivation for these crimes, but almost twenty percent of the reported hate crimes nationally were motivated by religious bias – and almost twelve percent were motivated by national origin bias.

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation witnessed a disturbing increase in attacks against Americans who appeared to be of Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. Although the FBI HCSA program collects information about bias-motivated crimes directed at Muslims, it does not collect separate data on hate crimes directed against Arabs, Sikhs, or Hindus. As evidenced by the recent tragic bias-motivated murders of six Sikh worshippers at their Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and numerous other acts of hate over the past decade, there is substantial evidence that these communities have been targeted for bias-motivated violence.

We urge members of the CJIS Advisory Policy Board to recommend that FBI officials and law enforcement agencies across the country separately tabulate hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus. A mandate that the FBI expand their fine HCSA work to begin collecting specific data on hate crimes directed against individuals on the basis of these personal characteristics will increase public awareness of these crimes, encourage victims to report these crimes, and expand existing engagement and relationships between law enforcement authorities and these communities.

African American Ministers in Action
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Civil Liberties Union
American Jewish Committee (AJC)
Anti-Defamation League
Arab-American Institute
Asian American Institute, a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)
Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
B’nai B’rith International
The Center for Asian Pacific American Women
Coalition of Hindu Youth (CHY)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of Scientology
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)
Groundswell, Auburn Seminary
Hindu American Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Interfaith Alliance
International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD)
Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC)
Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference (HMEC)
Human Rights First
International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Islamic Society of North America
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of United Latin American Citizens
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Muslim Advocates
Muslim American Society
Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA)
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum NAACP
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)
National Center For Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Disability Rights Network
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC)
National Organization for Women
National Urban League
North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA)
People For the American Way
PFLAG National (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Sikh Coalition
Union for Reform Judaism
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United Sikhs
Women of Reform Judaism
World Hindu Council of America