New York, USA: Congressman Joseph Crowley, a staunch opponent of hate crimes committed against Sikhs, condemned the attack on a Queens Sikh businessman who was injured after being run down by a pickup truck outside his office last week. Last Wednesday, Crowley joined with advocates and the Sikh American community in Queens to rally behind the victim and call for justice. Commenting on the incident and the victim whom Crowley referred to as Mr. Singh, the congressmember, declared: I’m deeply concerned about the events that took place last week here in Queens, and I wish Mr. Singh a speedy recovery. Two years after the massacre in Oak Creek, it is clear that the Sikh community is still facing the threat of violence, and this kind of continued hate and these attacks against Sikh Americans must come to an end.
I hope the Department of Justice and FBI can offer assistance in this case, including using the updated system for specifically tracking hate crimes against Sikhs. The intolerance and ignorance that contributed to the attack on Mr. Singh is unacceptable, and we must continue to work to end these hate crimes. Crowley explained that Sikh Americans are often targeted for hate crimes because of their distinct identity and common misperceptions with respect to their attire and appearance. Attackers sometimes appear to erroneously believe, Crowley said, that Sikh Americans are affiliated with extremists and were somehow responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In other circumstances they are attacked because of their Sikh identity.
Over the past three years, Crowley said, he has led a major effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to convince the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to begin collecting data on hate crimes committed against Sikh Americans and Hindu Americans—introducing legislation and sending multiple letters to the DOJ and FBI. Last year, then FBI Director Robert Mueller announced the agency would begin this program, Crowley said. Crowley’s efforts have been supported by the Sikh Coalition, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Hindu American Foundation, Indian American Forum for Political Education, SALDEF and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), among other leading national organizations.