A Congressman’s Initiative To Track Sikh, Hindu Hate Crimes In The U.S.

NEW YORK (TIP): Joe Crowley, the cochairman of Congressional group on India and Indian-Americans, the India Caucus, has come up with an initiative to track the hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans. He has asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to track these crimes and is also planning to send a letter to these departments, carrying the signatures of 40 Congressmen.

“When you hear about Hindus targeted for wearing a ‘bindi’ or ’tilak’ or Sikh boys and men living in fear of attack simply because they wear a turban, it’s time to say enough is enough and take action. Groups from India aren’t the only ones targeted for their faith, but I can tell you the Indian- American community is deeply disturbed by what is going on,” Crowley said.

“They want action, and they want it now. At the very least, they want the government to collect comprehensive data and respond to threats,” said Crowley who represents New York’s 14th Congressional District which is one of the most diverse communities in the United States. Stretching from Co-op City to Elmhurst, it includes some of the nation’s largest Korean-, Colombian- and Indian-American communities.

Crowley has requested the help of his fellow congressmen to join in this initiative of sending the letter, since it is high time that such indiscrimination and crimes came to an end. “We would like to respectfully express our strong support for adding three new categories to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) data collection mandate — anti-Sikh, anti-Hindu and anti-Arab hate crimes.

Unfortunately, there is a specific, demonstrated need for hate crime data for each of these three categories,” said the letter on circulation. “We are in favor of such a move in part because many Congressional offices have heard from constituents and leaders in the Sikh, Hindu and Arab-American communities about their ongoing fear of being the victim of a hate crime,” it said.

“This fear is a result of demonstrable and specific violent threats and attacks. For example, a man attempted to firebomb a Hindu Temple in New York on New Year’s Day, 2012. In December 2012, a Hindu man whose attacker said she hated Hindus and Muslims was shoved in front of an oncoming subway train, resulting in his death,” the letter said.

The Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE) has expressed their willingness to be a part of the campaign and they have also requested the lawmakers, especially members of the India Caucus to sign the letter. “We would request Department of Justice( DOJ) to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to begin collecting data on Hate Crime committed against Hindus, Sikhs and other minority communities of Indian origin,” said Sampat Shivangi, national president of the Forum.

“IAFPE wants to reach the rest of US congress and US Senate to bring these issues in the forefront and to make the Indian American community to join these efforts in re-focusing our efforts on this burning and very unfortunate issue that we are confronting,” he said.

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