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Latest Hate Crime Data Is at an All-Time High

March 13, 2023 (Washington, D.C.) -- Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published an update to its data on hate crimes and bias incidents covering the 2021 calendar year, painting a more complete picture of how dire hate-related incidents remain in America. The new report corrects previous statistics and adds 3,587 hate crime incidents to the original 2021 data making the total 10,840. The updated report shows that hate crimes increased nationwide by 31% from 2020 to 2021, and offenses reported for 2021 were the highest on record since the FBI began collecting the information in 1995. Religiously motivated hate crime incidents increased by 28%, and hate crime incidents based on race/ethnicity/ancestry increased by 27% from 2020 to 21.

The original report published by the FBI did not include a significant number of hate crimes because law enforcement agencies did not transition their crime reporting systems. As a result, there was a substantial undercount of hate crimes, leaving out virtually all agencies in states like California and New York, and many other major metropolitan jurisdictions. The updated report corrected this missing data by covering major law enforcement agencies in some of the most populated areas in the nation.

The Sikh Coalition, alongside other leading civil rights organizations, advocated for the FBI to collect legacy Summary Reporting System data and publish this supplemental report. We are grateful the FBI adopted those recommendations and did what was necessary so we may better compare figures to prior years. Communities can now have a better understanding of the climate of hate in our nation.

"We applaud the federal government’s efforts to correct their 2021 hate crime statistics report making that information available as quickly as they could,” said Sim J Singh Attariwala, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager of the Sikh Coalition. "The Sikh Coalition continues to demand that all law enforcement agencies be required to provide accurate data to help drive policy forward -- we cannot combat hate if we do not have an accurate picture of the problem." Taken from The Sikh Coalition News  March 13, 2023

SikhNet articles over the years have addressed the issue of the violation of religious rights and freedoms that include hate crimes, hate speech, discrimination, and bullying. Many SikhNet articles offer guidance to raise awareness with interactive approaches, and practical interventions, include resources with techniques to diffuse and reduce stressful incidents, and offer tips for how file reports and find legal aid. Though SikhNet resources primarily target Sikhs, they can be helpful for anyone facing persecution. 

Religious Rights and Freedoms in America

America has long been known for its stance on upholding religious freedom and religious rights in the work place. 

1637 – The early colony of Rhode Island founded by Roger Williams established itself as a haven for complete religious freedom. As the colonies grew in number, so did the diversity of various faiths and ethnic groups. 

1681 – William Penn established a religious refuge in the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania that believed in in total equality. 

September 1789 – Congress adopted the first amendment of the United States Constitution which stated,” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. This amendment expressly forbade the government to make laws pertaining to religion.

December 15, 1791 – The states ratified the first amendment and declared it law. The first amendment promoted separation of church and state, prohibited government from interfering with an individual’s right to worship, protected personal beliefs, and permitted people to engage in religious practice according their faith. 

Immigration Religious Rights and Freedom Verses Discrimination

The Ideals outlined by the First Amendment have faced a great many challenges over time. Yet the principles for which it stands have always attracted immigrants fleeing religious persecution. 

1940s – Jews fled the horrors of the Nazi regime during World War II and sought refuge in the United States.

1984 – The Indian government invasion of Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in June 4 through 6, the aftermath of subsequent massacres and genocide of Sikhs on October 31st, followed by decades of continual harassment, prompted Sikhs to seek amnesty and refuge in the United States. 

1990s – Muslims immigrated to America in order to escape the ethnic and religious oppression, persecution, and tyranny, of Middle Eastern countries. 

The USA continues to make progress in protecting personal freedoms and religious rights, however unfortunately, incidents of religious based bullying, discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech still do take place. Countless people immigrate to the US hoping to escape the brutal conditions of their homeland. But without proper documentation they may face great adversity in detainment facilities. United Sikhs has been instrumental in improving conditions involving religious rights for detainees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.)

SikhNet Resources: End Immigration Discrimination

Sikh Coalition ADVISORY on Immigration

US Sikhs Rank 2nd Highest as Targets of 2021 Religious Hate Crimes

2021 FBI Statistics – Sikhs rank second in the United States as being targets for religious based persecution, with Jews in first place, Muslims in third place, and Gender Non-Conforming fourth, of 15, the others all religious entities. Of 1,000 incidents 21%, or 215 hate related incidents reported to the FBI during 2021, were directed at Sikhs. 

SikhNet Resources: End Hate 

Gurdwara Safety & Security

BeProud! Join the Movement to End Hate 

Bullying Intervention Strategies from Kabir

Know Your rights: Hate Crimes & Hate Speech

Classroom Bullying

With Gun violence, school shootings, and school related bullying occurring with alarming regularity, sometimes the most vulnerable victims of hate related crimes are children. Statistically about 50% of all Sikh children are bullied in school, twice the national average. With Sikh children wearing turbans, the number rises to 67% as reported by SALDEF (Sikh America Legal Defense and Education Fund). The fact that the number has declined from 75% of Sikh boys being bullied in 2008, is encouraging and points to the effectiveness of efforts that organizations like SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs, and many Sikh individuals have put into Anti-bullying resources for Sikhs.

SikhNet Resources: End Classroom Bullying

Ajit Singh: The Invincible Lion

Help Sikh Children Deal With Bullying

In Bully’s Eyes: Children’s Book Interview

An Approach to Handling Bullying in School Positively

Chardi “Claw” A true Tale of Being Bullied in School & Keeping Up 

Sikh coalition Releases Free Sikh Children Resource for Classrooms

Sikh-American Teen Writes Book to Raise Awareness About Bullying

Sikh Coalition Launches First-Ever C3 Resources, Reaching over 9,000 Educators

Work Related Discrimination 

Discrimination in the work place is also a concern when directed towards those wearing religiously mandated articles of faith such as the kirpan, and clothing such as dastar, or turban, and those who keep hair and beards untrimmed. 

February 1, 2023 – California Department of corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) mandated shaven faces for all officers including those previously exempt due to religious or medical accommodations. Officers who did not immediately comply with new ruling faced disciplinary action and were forced to shave their faces or take personal leave for weeks and months while awaiting approval of applications for religious exemptions and medical accommodations. 

The Sikh Coalition and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Foundation of Northern California joined forces to immediately responded with a letter regarding “Discriminatory denial of medical and religious accommodations for peace officers” that outlines CDCR efforts to “deny and/or improperly rescind medical and religious accommodations” for bearded peace officers, effectually targeting racial and religious minorities. 

An estimated 2,000 of 41,000 employed officers have been affected including Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs whose religions mandate keeping their beard, as well as sufferers of Pseudo Folliculitis Barbae (PFB) a medical condition which disproportionally affects up to 75% of Black males, verses 5% percent of White males who shave.

SikhNet Resources: End Workplace Discrimination

The End of Sikh Discrimination in the Workplace

Know Your Rights: Federal Employer Compliance Manual Includes 1st Sikh Example

Travel Discrimination and Rights
Religious rights have been impacted by the tightening of the TSA (Travel Security Administration) since the horrific events of 9/11 (September 11, 2001). Sikhs have been targeted by racial profiling. Sikh Coalition and SALDEF are among organizations that worked with the TSA to improve conditions for Sikhs wearing Turbans.  A Sikh traveler who is asked to remove their turban, may refuse, or ask to be accommodated with a private room. Sikhs can report incidents as they occur using Flyrights.

SikhNet Resources: End Travel Discrimination

Training TSA on Respecting Your Religious Rights

Military Discrimination & Fights for Religious Rights

January 3, 2017 – A multi-year campaign, to repeal a ban against beards, involved the cooperative efforts of the Sikh Coalition, McDermott Will & Emery, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The ongoing fight of military personnel for the right to adhere to their religious beliefs, which meant keeping their required articles of faith including uncut hair, beard, and to wear a turban, finally realized its goal when the USA Army overturned its 1981 Military Ban on Sikhs wearing Turbans and keeping beards intact. The Sikh Coalition continues efforts with other USA military branches including the U.S. Airforce, as well as other federal positions and offices.

SikhNet Resources: End Military Discrimination

Sikhs Serving the US Army While Staying True to Their Faith

US Government Reverses Ban on Sikh Federal Security Officers Wearing Bana

Sikh Organizations Fight for The Rights of All Americans

Multi-faceted Sikh organizations, such as SALDEF, United Sikhs, and the Sikh Coalition, work tirelessly to continually protect religious freedom. Sikhs organizations often partner with organizations such the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and others that have a common goal, to ensure religious rights, improve conditions, and resolve discrimination, not only for Sikhs, but for all the people of America.

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir has written hundreds of articles on topics related to Sikhism and has co-written and and edited several books on the Gurmat teachings and Naam Simran meditation. 

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