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FBI to More Accurately Track Hate Crimes Against Sikhs & Others, Garamendi Part of Successful Congressional Push

August 5, 2013
Press Release

Announcement Comes on One-Year Anniversary of Oak Creek Terrorist Attack

YUBA CITY, CA – In March, Representative John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a member of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, joined more than 100 Members of Congress in writing an FBI advisory board to express strong support for an initiative to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab-Americans.

On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the FBI will move forward with the plan and will begin officially identifying hate crimes perpetrated against Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, and Orthodox Christian individuals. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the senseless terrorist attack at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin where a white supremacist opened fire, murdering six people and wounding four others.

“We know that senseless hate crimes are occurring, but we need better data on the scope of the problem. By accurately tracking hate crimes against American Sikhs and other at-risk communities, we’ll be able to better devote the resources and community intervention required to stamp out hate,” said Congressman Garamendi. “On the one-year anniversary of the horrific terror attack at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple, we owe it to the victims to be more proactive in stopping future attacks.”

Unfortunately, anecdotal and non-government data indicate that the commission of hate crimes against members of these minority groups has become a deadly problem: the massacre at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and the murder of a Hindu Senando Sen on the New York City subway – along with attacks across the United States – underscore the severity of the issue. According to community surveys in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, approximately 10 percent of Sikh-Americans felt they had already been a victim of a hate crime. The perpetrators of these crimes are often chillingly candid that they committed these heinous actions out of hatred.

Click here to watch powerful Senate testimony by Harpreet Singh Saini, whose mother was killed in the Oak Creek shooting, on the importance of gathering this data.