sikhs testify at senate hearing on hate crimes

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Comittee held a hearing on hate crimes and domestic extremism: Congressional hearing addresses hate crimes after Sikh attack.

The hearings included emotional testimony from family members of victims who were killed last month in the hate crime shooting spree at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin: Sikh Temple Shooting Victim's Son Asks FBI To Track Hate Crimes Against Sikhs.

The FBI currently doesn't track hate crimes against Sikhs. That means, according to the federal government, the massacre at Oak Creek technically wasn't counted as a hate crime. Six victims, not even a statistic.

At the hearing, community members not only called on the Obama administration to start collecting data on anti-Sikh violence, but also to step up the pursuit of domestic terrorists to prevent future violence from figures like Wade Michael Page:
Sikhs asked government officials to protect their community, saying they are often targets of discrimination from those who do not understand their beliefs and practices.

The Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization, like Saini, is asking Congress to track hate crimes against Sikhs. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy L. Austin Jr. said that the Justice Department would convene a meeting of religious groups in October to consider expanding hate crime tracking statistics to include Sikhs.

The Sikh Coalition also wants government officials and candidates to take a pledge to abstain from using language that incites bigotry, to invest in anti-bullying campaigns and to create a presidential task force to track progress on hate crime prevention.
More here: After shooting, Sikhs push for more legal protections.

To read the full senate testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini, whose mother Paramjit Kaur Saini was killed at the massacre in Oak Creek, go here: Testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini.

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