Senate Holds Hearing on Hate Crimes

Article excerpt

IN AUGUST, A HATE-FILLED SHOOTER took the lives of six Sikhs and injured others at a house of worship in Oak Creek, Wis. That same week, seven mosques were attacked or vandalized. ISNA immediately responded by expressing condolences to the Sikh community and to the Muslim community whose mosque was burned down in Joplin, Mo. We also expressed our interest in strengthening gun laws to prevent future tragedies as part of our work with the Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

In September, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights responded to the overall increase in hate crimes across the nation by convening a hearing to discuss "Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism."

ISNA, the Shoulder-toShoulder campaign, and approximately 80 other organizations submitted testimony for the hearing (see below). Witnesses included legal experts, representatives from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice and the FBI, and Harpreet Singh Saini, who lost his mother in the Oak Creek tragedy. More than 400 people of diverse backgrounds attended the hearing in person, with numerous others watching via webcast.

Among several other recommendations, senators and panelists discussed the possibility of adding a category on federal government hate crime reports that identifies attacks against Sikh Americans. …