American Turban

US attorney wants Sikhs to report hate crimes

"U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag, center, sits down for a meal with members of the El Sobrante Sikh Center, during her visit to the gurdwara, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in El Sobrante, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)" (photo: contracostatimes.com)

"U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag, center, sits down for a meal with members of the El Sobrante Sikh Center, during her visit to the gurdwara, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in El Sobrante, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)" (photo: contracostatimes.com)

“Especially after you learn about all that, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to discriminate against the Sikh community,” Haag said. “We have one of the most tolerant communities in the United States right here in the Bay Area, so if that discrimination is happening here, that’s really disturbing.”

— US Attorney Melinda Haag, after learning about Sikhism while meeting with Bay Area Sikhs at the Gurdwara in El Sobrante, California on Sunday.

Haag’s meeting was to encourage Sikhs to report when they have been victims of hate crimes and discrimination.  However, as the Sikh Coalition recently pointed out in a separate bulletin, the FBI does not specifically track hate crimes targeting Sikhs, and often lumps these with anti-Muslim crimes (sign a petition to have the FBI identify these crimes against Sikhs, here). Haag reportedly promised to take this issue up with the FBI.

These statistics for Sikhs is important information given our disproportionate experience with discrimination in terms of our overall population. However, in the meantime, it seems that the FBI’s statistics are as confused as many of the people who perpetrate these crimes against Sikhs in the first place.

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