CAPAC Praises Recommendation for FBI to Track Hate Crimes Against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans

Jun 6, 2013 Issues: Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Yesterday, an advisory policy board of the Federal Bureau of Investigation voted to recommend that hate crimes targeted at Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans should be tracked with their own categories in the FBI’s uniform crime reporting program. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements in response to the board’s decision:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “I am thrilled that the Advisory Policy Board made this important recommendation to improve the tracking of hate crimes perpetrated against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. After 9/11, members of these communities have been disproportionately impacted by bullying, harassment, assaults and violent hate crimes. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has been at the forefront of pushing the FBI to add additional categories to track hate crimes perpetrated against these communities so that law enforcement can better understand and prevent them. I am pleased to see that the FBI has moved one step closer to doing so today, and I urge Director Mueller to implement the board’s recommendation and begin tracking these incidents immediately.”

Congressman Joseph Crowley (NY-14), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair: “This move has been a long time in the making, and I am proud to have joined the many organizations and citizens who spoke out on this issue to say that the status quo just isn’t good enough. While this is a monumental step forward, our work to fight hate crimes cannot and will not end here. That’s why I’m calling on FBI Director Mueller to quickly adopt the Board’s recommendation.”

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), CAPAC Civil Rights Task Force Chair: “I am pleased that the FBI advisory policy board has approved a recommendation that hate crimes targeted at Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans be tracked with their own categories in the FBI's uniform crime reporting program.  Every year, many Americans in these ethnic groups are attacked based simply on their appearance and perceived association with a particular community.  It is time for the FBI to collect this data so that we can improve the tracking of these crimes and determine the best ways to prevent attacks on members of these communities. It is my hope that Director Mueller will implement this recommendation.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: I am pleased that the policy board has recommended the FBI begin tracking hate crimes directed specifically toward Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans, among others, as part of its crime reporting program. Since 9/11, I have been working in Congress to end the discrimination and threats faced by these and other religious minorities, and have submitted numerous amendments as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to secure additional protections.  I have also directly advocated to Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Mueller to implement additional tracking categories.  We must be vigilant in ensuring that all Americans are free from the intimidation that hate crimes directed toward any ethnic community seek to instill.  The advisory board has now affirmed what the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has been fighting for, and urge immediate implementation of its recommendations.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Whip: “Hate crimes against all people are unacceptable and must be investigated, tracked, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Since 9/11, members of the Sikh, Hindu, and Arab American communities have increasingly been victims of hate crimes. As a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, I’m pleased to see the FBI voted to improve the tracking of hate crimes perpetrated against these communities. America is a safer and more prosperous place when all American’s are equally protected under the law.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07): “I’m glad the advisory board did the right thing and recommended improving the tracking of hate crimes committed against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. It’s a good first step to addressing and quantifying these kinds of crimes and getting to their root cause. The memory of the tragedy at Oak Creek is still fresh, and in my own community of Elk Grove, two Sikh men were murdered in 2011 in a probable hate crime. Violence and discrimination against these communities is a real and important civil rights issue in the U.S., and we must do everything we can to prevent it in the future. I hope that the F.B.I. will swiftly implement the board’s recommendations and begin tracking these crimes as soon as possible.”

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS): In the aftermath of 9/11, CAPAC took a stand in reminding the nation that we must wage war on terrorism, not on fellow Americans. But over the past 12 years, Sikh, Hindu, and Arab American communities have been disproportionately affected by hate crimes. I am pleased to hear of the advisory policy board’s vote towards improving how the FBI tracks hate crimes against these communities. I urge Director Mueller to implement this recommendation so we can better protect the fundamental rights of all Americans.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09): “I was very happy to see that the Advisory Policy Board recommended that the FBI enhance their tracking methods of hate crimes targeting Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans.  One of the great things about our country is its ethnic and religious diversity.  This is something that we must embrace and we must do what we can to protect people against senseless acts of violence motivated by hate.  Since 9/11, discrimination and violence against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab American communities has been alarming.  Violence that systematically targets groups of people in order to intimidate and threaten them violates the safety and unity of our communities, and I am glad to see the FBI improving their tracking and eventual proper prosecution of these crimes.”

Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15): “As the former hate crimes prosecutor for Alameda County, I know the terrible nature of crimes motivated by hate.  I’m very pleased the advisory board listened to a request by myself and other Members of the House and recommended tracking attacks against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans.  I hope FBI Director Mueller agrees with us and includes these communities so we may begin collecting this critical hate crimes data.”

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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.