CAPAC Members Introduce Resolution Standing Up for Sikh Americans

Sep 14, 2012 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, DC – Today, 88 Members of Congress, including 34 Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), introduced House Resolution 785, taking a stand against discrimination targeting Sikh Americans. The resolution was originally authored by Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, an Associate Member of CAPAC.

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair:  “Sikh Americans have contributed to the strength and diversity of the United States for over 130 years, starting businesses, serving in our military, and becoming active leaders in our local communities. But in the aftermath of September 11th, Sikh Americans have also experienced a sharp rise in incidents of hate crimes, profiling, and bullying. From the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi to the recent tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we must combat the growing wave of violence and intolerance that threatens the safety and civil liberties of the Sikh American community. Today, by introducing this resolution, we reaffirm the principles of religious freedom and acceptance that make our nation great.”

Congressman Joseph Crowley (NY-07):  “This resolution recognizes that America is proud of the Sikh-American community, their hundred year history in this country and their countless achievements and contributions to the nation. Tragically, the brutal attack in Oak Creek and attacks over the previous year shed light on the ongoing threats faced by Sikh-Americans in the United States. Unfortunately, this was not a one-time event and what’s clear is that there is a disturbing and violent trend that must be confronted and brought to an end.  While there is much more that must be done, this measure sends a strong signal that Congress stands behind the Sikh-American community and that we must take greater strides in working to prevent crimes against Sikhs.  That includes documenting hate crimes against Sikhs, something which has not happened in the past.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I have been proud to work closely with the Sikh-American community throughout my career in Congress. This is why I was horrified by the senseless violence directed at this peace-loving community last month in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. No community should have to be faced with such terrible violence, especially one that takes place in a serene and peaceful place like a house of worship.  Yet, last month’s events were just a microcosm of a larger trend that has continued to develop against Sikh-Americans since September 11th, 2001. The community has been disproportionately affected by hate crimes and often suffer the brunt of political unrest targeted against other groups. It is unconscionable to me that despite this clear and prevailing trend, neither the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nor the Department of Justice tracks Sikh-specific hate crimes data. The FBI should be the most authoritative source of hate crimes data for all targeted groups. I call on Director Mueller and Attorney General Holder to remedy this glaring issue in our data collection, which will allow our nation’s law enforcement the ability to properly study and respond to these trends. From authoring a resolution condemning crimes against Sikh-Americans after 9/11 to adamantly oppose government sponsored discrimination in all its forms, the issues important to the community are a priority for me.  I will continue to champion anti-bullying and anti-violence policies in Congress, and advocate for better data collection of hate crimes perpetrated against all communities, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexuality, country of origin, and immigration status.”

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS): “With this resolution, we condemn anything which seeks to tear apart the common thread of freedom that binds together all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs.  Sikh-Americans, like Americans from every other religious background, are an integral part of the fabric of our country.  Hate crimes such as the brutal attack which took the lives of six innocent Sikh-Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin cannot be tolerated. We must build from this tragic event knowing there is much more work to be done to bring an end to such senseless acts of violence.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05):  “The tragic shooting earlier this year in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the murder of two elderly Sikh-Americans in Sacramento, California last year, and other senseless acts of violence against the Sikh community have no place in our society.  These acts are typically driven by blind prejudice and blatant discrimination.  We must come together as a nation to support the Sikh community, and work to stamp out hate wherever it may appear.”

Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11): “It is important for the Sikh community in the United States and across the world to know that we stand with them. This resolution is an important step in the process, though we have more work to do, including reforming the process of chronicling hate crime statistics.”

Congressman Howard L. Berman (CA-28): “We owe it to the victims of the Oak Creek tragedy and the over 500,000 members of the Sikh community living in the United States to ensure that such acts do not occur in the future, and to monitor and maintain comprehensive statistics on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14): “One of our country’s greatest strengths is our diversity.  We attract the best and the brightest from all over the world – people who cross oceans and cultures to come to America to build a better life for themselves and their families – and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Sikh community.  The hallmarks of the Sikh faith –compassion, hard work, generosity, and service to one’s country- are qualities that all Americans should aspire to.  No community in this country should feel scrutinized for practicing their faith and I am truly appalled that the Sikh community has been a target of hate crimes.”

Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-27):  “I am pleased to join my colleagues to introduce a resolution honoring the contributions of the Sikh-American community to the United States, condemning the string of attacks against Sikhs and their religious institutions, and calling for more urgent action to prevent such hate crimes. I was deeply saddened by the attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August.  I condemned this senseless act of violence against the Sikh community in the strongest terms.  Sikhs are a very peaceful and tolerant community, but violence against Sikh-Americans has, sadly, risen dramatically since 9/11. I have always backed stronger U.S. government action to protect Sikhs and prosecute hate crimes.  I urge the Department of Justice to direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect specific data on hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans and respond with urgency against threats to this peaceful community.”

Congressman Pete Stark (CA-13): “I am proud to represent many Sikh families in the East Bay, and I was deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin. It is my hope that this resolution will help end the persistent discrimination against the Sikh community. Religious intolerance and discrimination have no place in our society. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution.”

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-08): “I am pleased to co-sponsor this important resolution, which recognizes the contributions of the Sikh-American community to our nation and urges continued outreach.  It also condemns the recent string of hate crimes that have targeted Sikh-Americans and calls for the Department of Justice to start collection of comprehensive data on this important problem. I hope my colleagues will support this important resolution to reaffirm our commitment to this valued community.”


Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with 500,000 followers in the United States and over 25 million world-wide.  In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Sikh American advocacy groups have reported a sharp rise in discrimination against their community.  The Associated Press reports that more than 700 anti-Sikh crimes have taken place in the U.S. over the last decade, and surveys have found that up to three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance.

H. Res 785 pushes educators to work towards preventing the bullying of Sikh American children and urges the U.S. Department of Justice to begin documenting and quantifying hate crimes perpetrated against Sikh Americans. The resolution also expresses strong support for the right of the Sikh American community to live in peace, free from discrimination, hate crimes, bullying and all forms of violence. The full text of the resolution is provided below.


H. Res 785

Condemning the discrimination, hate crimes, racism, bigotry, bullying and brutal violence perpetrated against Sikh-Americans, and all acts of vandalism against Sikh Gurdwaras in the United States.

Whereas Sikh-Americans have frequently been stereotyped solely because of their appearance, practices and traditions;

Whereas numerous Sikh temples have been defaced and Sikh-Americans attacked out of ignorance and hatred, including instances in Michigan, New York, and California;

Whereas some incidents against Sikh-Americans appear to be erroneous attempts to place blame or exact retribution for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks;

Whereas Sikh-Americans have been murdered, including the heinous attack and killing of six persons and wounding of others in the Sikh Gurdwara of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012;

Whereas Sikh-Americans are often targeted solely because of their unique dress and religious practices;

Whereas surveys have found that up to three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance;

Whereas the Sikh faith is the world’s fifth largest religion, with more than 25 million practitioners worldwide, upwards of 500,000 of whom reside in the United States;

Whereas Sikh-Americans have lived in the United States for at least 100 years as pillars of American society, making invaluable contributions in business, politics, science and education;

Whereas Sikh-Americans serve in all roles of American life, including as family members, business owners, elected leaders, and members of the United States military;

Whereas Dalip Singh Saund served as a Sikh-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the late 1950s and early 1960s; and

Whereas under successive Administrations, the Department of Justice has rightfully reached out to the Sikh community to prevent discrimination and protect its civil liberties: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns the commission of hate crimes against all Americans, including Sikh-Americans;

(2) condemns acts of violence, bigotry and discrimination against Sikh-Americans;

(3) urges educators, counselors and others to support educational efforts to prevent the epidemic bullying of Sikh-American children and families;

(4) supports outreach efforts by federal and local law enforcement leaders to prevent violence and hate crimes against Sikh-Americans;

(5) urges the U.S. Department of Justice to begin documenting and quantifying hate crimes and other acts of violence perpetrated against Sikh-Americans; and

(6) expresses its strong support for the right of the Sikh-American community to live in peace and free from discrimination, hate crimes, bullying and all forms of violence.

The resolution is co-sponsored by the following members: Joseph Crowley (NY-7), Bill Pascrell, Jr.  (NJ-08), Howard L. Berman (CA-28), Judy Chu (CA-32), Nita M. Lowey (NY-18), Keith Ellison  (MN-05), Fortney Pete Stark (CA-13), José Serrano (NY-16), Jackie Speier  (CA-12), James P. Moran (VA-08), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Brad Sherman (CA-27), Laura Richardson (CA-37), Steve Israel (NY-02), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Doris O. Matsui (CA-05), Michael M. Honda (CA-15), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Sam Farr (CA-17), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Al Green (TX-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Bob Filner (CA-51), Daniel E. Lungren (CA-03), Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Martin Heinrich (NM-1), Edolphus Towns (NY-10), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Sander M. Levin (MI-12), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Tim Ryan (OH-17), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Karen Bass (CA-33), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Eleanor Holmes Norton  (DC), Gary C. Peters  (MI-09), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Michael E. Capuano (MA-08), Rául M. Grijalva (AZ-07), John D. Dingell  (MI-15), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), George Miller (CA-07), Jim Costa (CA-20), Sheila Jackson (TX-18), Dan Burton (IN-05), Lloyd Doggett (TX-25), Charles B. Rangel (NY-15), Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (AS), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Grace Napolitano (CA-38), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14), Steven R. Rothman (NJ-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Carolyn McCarthy  (NY-04), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14), Robert C. Scott (VA-03), John W. Olver (MA-01), Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), John Lewis (GA-05), Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), James P. McGovern (MA-03), Maurice D. Hinchey (NY-22), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Janice Hahn (CA-36), Pedro R. Pierluisi (PR), Ron Kind (WI-03), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Henry A. Waxman (CA-30), Adam B. Schiff (CA-29), Rep. Ed Markey (MA-7), Albio Sires (NJ-13), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Eliot L. Engel (NY-17), Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10), Shelly Berkley (NV-01), Gary L. Ackerman (NY-05), Nikki Tsongas (MA-05), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-14), Jerry McNerney (CA-11)


The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.