An influential US lawmaker on Friday asked the FBI to start tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Hindus, Sikhs and Arab-Americans residing in the country.
"The disturbing pattern of violence and hate against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab-Americans is unacceptable. But, we will only be able to comprehensively address the problem if and when we know the full scope and severity of crimes against these communities," Congressman Joe Crowley said.
The FBI Advisory Policy Board (APB) is scheduled to meet June 5, during which it will consider updating the FBI's Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699), which serves as the primary mechanism for the federal government to document hate crimes committed in the US, to include crimes against these communities.
In his testimony submitted ahead of the crucial meeting, Crowley, who has spearheaded the effort for the past several years, said that Sikhs, Hindus, and Arab-Americans have all too often been the victim of violent and deadly attacks, and many are targeted with violence for reasons attackers chillingly claim are related to hatred.
"That's why I reiterated my call for the FBI to begin tracking hate crimes against these groups and I look forward to the Advisory Policy Board taking action on this matter," Crowley said.
"There is no question that the Hate Crimes Incident Report Form must be updated to reflect the realities these groups face day-in and day-out, and I am hopeful the Advisory Policy Board will recognise this demonstrable need and recommend the change take place," said Crowley.
In April 2012, Crowley led a letter signed by 93 members of Congress urging the FBI to update the Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699) to include crimes committed against Sikh-Americans. Following the August 2012 attack on the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek which claimed six lives.
Crowley spearheaded the introduction of a Congressional resolution recognising the contributions of the Sikh-American community and urging action on hate crimes.
In March 2013, Crowley handed a letter signed by over 100 members of Congress to the FBI Advisory Policy Board to express strong support to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab-Americans.
In his testimony, Crowley shared feedback and concerns from his conversations with Sikh, Hindu, and Arab-American communities over the past year.
Specifically, Crowley pointed to the communities' appreciation to law enforcement officials for their efforts to protect and educate, their concerns about the depth and realities of the issue, and that inclusion of these groups on the official form would lead to greater cooperation between law enforcement and the communities.