Last year, over 8,400 hate crimes were reported in US
Over 8,400 hate crime incidents, including 24 against Sikhs, 15 against Hindus, and over 300 against Muslims, were reported in the US in 2017, according to an FBI report. The report released yesterday is topped with 1,678 hate crimes committed against the Jews. Nine anti-Buddhist hate crimes were also registered last year. In all, as many as 8,437 hate crimes were recorded in 2017.
The Sikh Coalition, a community-based organization that defends Sikh civil rights, said that in 2017, it received 12 anti-Sikh hate crime cases and tracked a total of 24 anti-Sikh hate-related incidents nationwide. "This figure alone is under-representative of the problem since many individuals impacted by hate don't report it. A historical challenge is that agencies routinely fail to identify bias during investigations," it said.
"Even when they do, they often don't report it to federal authorities, so the data never shows up in the statistics," the organization said. Sikh Coalition senior advocacy manager, Sim Singh, said the new report shows "our elected officials that hate in America is thriving and profoundly impacting the safety and well-being of minority communities nationwide." He blamed politicians for their "bigoted political rhetoric".
There are approximately 500,000 Sikhs in the US. In the wake of the 2012 Oak Creek-Wisconsin massacre inside a gurdwara, the FBI finally agreed to begin tracking anti-Sikh hate crimes in 2015. The first Indian-origin US Senator Kamala Harris said that there has been a rise in racism and crimes against South Asian Americans since the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
The latest reported racism-related crime happened on March 3, when a 39-year-old Sikh man Deep Rai was injured when an unidentified person shot him outside his home in Kent. A day earlier, 43-year-old Harnish Patel, a store owner was shot dead outside his home in South Carolina. Last February, Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed in Kansas, creating furor within the community.