Justice and FBI to Consider Tracking Hate Crimes Against Sikhs
Decision Expected in October
By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 | 03:12 am
When he finished, Durbin addressed Harpreet Singh: “I asked questions of the first panel based on your request that a category be added to the report so that Sikh Americans would have some collection of statistics and numbers. The response was positive, and I promise you I will follow up to make sure it is considered in a timely basis.”
Nearly a dozen organizations spoke at a news conference outside the room, immediately following the hearing.
Michael Lieberman of the Anti-Defamation League said the league was the nation’s leading organization tracking hate groups and training law enforcement officials in how to respond to hate violence.
“We know a lot about the nature and magnitude of these threats,” he said. “Last month, we and many others around this room reiterated our call that Anti-Sikh hate crime, anti-Arab hate crime, anti-Hindu hate crime should be explicitly and specifically disaggregated from the hate crime data collection that they (the FBI) have been doing for 20 years… We must be ready and able to respond.”
And Valarie Kaur, director of Groundswell, a group that facilitates social action, announced that four thousand Americans had just signed a petition to stand with Harpreet Singh’s demands, including the police chief of Oak Creek, John Edwards.
“Just yesterday, Chief Edwards invited me into his office and showed me the FBI’s hate crime incident report form sitting on his desk, still unfinished, totally blank,” she said. “I don’t know how to fill out this report he told me. There is no way to record the six homicides at the gurdwara down the street. How can we combat a problem we’re not even recognizing?”
Valarie Kaur has documented hate crimes against Sikhs for 11 years, and has produced two films on the issue.
In his testimony, Harpreet Singh also asked the government to pursue domestic terrorists with the same vigor as attackers from abroad.
“The man who killed my mother was on the watch list of public interest groups,” he said. “I believe the government could have tracked him long before he killed my mother.”