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October 16, 2023 (Washington, DC) — Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual report of hate crimes statistics, reflecting information about hate crimes for 2022. The data reflect the highest-ever reported number of hate crime victimizations, with a 7 percent increase from 2021 to 2022. 

Religiously motivated hate crime victimizations were at their highest since 2001, with an increase of 17 percent since 2021. Anti-Sikh hate crime victimizations were recorded by the FBI as the highest number ever at 198, and Sikhs still remain the second-most targeted group in the nation for religiously motivated hate crime incidents. Victimizations were also on the rise for numerous other faith communities, with 1,217 anti-Jewish hate crimes, 200 anti-Islamic hate crimes, and 29 anti-Hindu hate crimes. 

In 2015, the FBI began collecting data about more categories of religiously motivated hate crimes (including anti-Sikh, anti-Hindu, and others) as a result of the Sikh Coalition’s advocacy. We continue to believe that addressing hate remains an urgent policy priority in the United States, and that Sikhs remain disproportionately under threat—due to our distinct and highly visible articles of faith as well as other intersectional aspects of identity. We are encouraged that the White House consulted organizations like the Sikh Coalition to develop “Allied Against Hate: A Toolkit for Faith Communities” to help address hate crimes. However, this FBI data underscores the need for stronger initiatives by the federal government—especially as both international conflicts and divisive political rhetoric (in the United States and abroad) that demonizes marginalized groups continues to fuel more acts of hate against multiple different communities.

At the same time, as the Sikh Coalition has argued for years, the FBI’s hate crime data remains woefully incomplete so long as hate crime reporting is not mandated and undertaken with serious care and standardized processes in law enforcement agencies across the country. This year’s data shows a fifth consecutive year of declines in law enforcement agency participation in the FBI’s hate crime statistics program. The Sikh Coalition and other leading civil rights organizations continue to document additional inaccuracies in hate crime reporting; as a reminder, federal-level estimates from the Bureau of Justice Statistics put annual hate crime victimizations at 246,900, but this most recent data only captures 4 percent of that number.

Advocacy for federal and state policies that prevent, combat, and track hate crimes remains a top priority for the Sikh Coalition. We recently celebrated the passage of AB 449 in California, which will require every law enforcement agency across the state to adopt a hate crimes policy with detailed, specific protocols instructing officers on how to identify, respond to, and report hate crimes. Additionally, our flagship policy document, Combating Bias, Bigotry, and Backlash: Sikh American Civil Rights Policy Priorities, contains detailed recommendations for both Congress and the Biden Administration on how to improve, enforce, and gain better data from hate crime laws and policies. 

As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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