Opinion: Maria Cantwell calls for DOJ to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans
Sen. Maria Cantwell has joined with 18 other U.S. senators urging the Department of Justice to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans.
Cantwell said she signed on to the bipartisan letter Thursday. Earlier in August, white supremacist Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
"Until we have a more comprehensive understanding of the number and type of hate crimes committed against Sikhs, our law enforcement agencies will not be able to allocate the appropriate level of personnel and other resources to prevent and respond to these crimes," the letter said. "Moreover, the collection of this information will likely encourage members of the Sikh community to report hate crimes to law enforcement officials."
The Sikh Coalition had been asking for federal law enforcement to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans. The Justice Department tracks crimes committed against Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and atheists, but lumps Sikhs in with "other religions."
This is a good first step, and an important show of support for the Sikh American community from our leadership in Washington, D.C. I said in a Tuesday column that the silence after the Sikh shooting was deafening, especially in light of the scrutiny around the shootings in Aurora, Colo. First lady Michelle Obama is also meeting with families of the victims.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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