IL state legislature passes anti-hate resolution

Illinois House of Representatives (source: Chicago Tribune file photo)

Illinois House of Representatives (source: Chicago Tribune file photo)

Making reference to the August mass murder of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and subsequent attacks on mosques in the United States, the Illinois state legislature recently passed a resolution called HR 1193-Encourage Religious Tolerance to denounce hate crimes and encourage participation and civic engagement of minorities and immigrants (via @sepiamutiny):

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Biss, (D-Skokie), is more of a statement against anti-Asian bigotry than a legal measure. But it has impact because it comes on the heels of numerous attacks against the South Asian community. Those attacks, in Chicago and across the U.S., provide evidence of growing intolerance the fast-growing community faces.

The resolution was introduced barely a week after the attacks by Illlinois State Representative Daniel Biss, and was formally adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives on November 27. The drafting of the language in the bill was a collaborative effort involving representatives of a variety of communities, including the local Sikh community:

The resolution “adds to the healing process of damage done to my Sikh American community,” said Rajinder Majo of Palatine, citing the Oak Creek temple massacre as the inspiration behind the resolution. Majo is a Sikh community leader who worked with Gandhi on the language used in the resolution, and calls the resolution “a sign that Americans care” for his community.

…Though the resolution pays particular attention to people of South Asian descent, [Executive Director of South Asian American Policy and Research Institute Ami Gandhi] says it is meant to be inclusive of all ethnic communities. The language in the resolution was carefully constructed by SAAPRI, though many groups were involved, including the Asian American Institute and Shoulder-to-Shoulder, an interfaith organization which includes Muslim, Jewish, and Christian community leaders. The Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in Chicago was also a major player.

Representative Biss describes his motivation to introduce HR 1193:

“Hateful actions like these are meant to make people of different religions and races feel isolated and marginalized,” he said. “I wanted to put forth this resolution to let members of the Sikh and Muslim communities know that we stand with them, that we support them, that we are proud that they are part of our communities and that we will not tolerate this violence against them.”

Read more about the resolution at MedIll Reports – Chicago. The full text of HR 1193 is available on the Illinois General Assembly website and also appears below.

HR1193 LRB097 22422 GRL 71182 r
2     WHEREAS, A devastating act of violence occurred at the Sikh
3 Temple of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin;
4 and
5     WHEREAS, Members of the American Sikh community have a
6 long-standing commitment to the United States, demonstrated by
7 their record of military heroism, devotion to public service,
8 and contribution to the economic activity and prosperity of
9 this country; and
10     WHEREAS, This recent massacre in Wisconsin, a recent fire
11 that destroyed a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, and the aftermath
12 of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, have caused Sikhs,
13 Muslims, South Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and other
14 communities in the Midwest and the country at large to live
15 under an unfair burden of vulnerability; and
16     WHEREAS, There has been a growth in rhetorical attacks,
17 harassment, intimidation, bullying, and extreme violence
18 against these communities; and
19     WHEREAS, A crime like this should be condemned, regardless
20 of what ethnic or religious group is targeted; and
HR1193 – 2 – LRB097 22422 GRL 71182 r
1     WHEREAS, In the United States and in Illinois, the
2 principles of tolerance, religious freedom, trust, and safety
3 are vital to the sense of community shared by all people; and
4     WHEREAS, The fundamental American values of justice and
5 equality for all are vital foundations of who we are as a
6 people, while xenophobia, racism, anti-religious rhetoric, and
7 extreme violence have no place in our society; therefore, be it
10 we encourage tolerance and the prevention of future violence by
11 promoting education about diverse cultures and religions,
12 grounded in the belief that this makes us strong as a community
13 and a nation; and be it further
14     RESOLVED, That we are grateful to the first responders,
15 congregants, and the local community in Wisconsin who helped to
16 save lives and prevent even greater loss; and be it further
17     RESOLVED, That we denounce any and all hate-fueled violence
18 and bigotry in public and political discourse and encourage
19 civic engagement and participation among all Illinois
20 residents, including immigrants and minorities.


  1. Pingback: SAAPRI and Sikh Religious Society to commemorate HR 1193 « American Turban

  2. Pingback: IL South Asian community commemorates state anti-hate resolution « American Turban


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