The Sikh community is the third most commonly targeted religious group after Jews and Muslims in the US, according to an annual report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reported PTI.
According to a press release issued by the FBI, the 2018 data shows the largest number of hate crimes based on religion were reported against Jews (835), followed by Muslims (188) and Sikhs (60). There were 64 offences against Sikhs with 49 known offenders and 69 victims.
Another 91 hate crimes were reported against other religions, including 12 against Hindus and ten anti-Buddhist crimes.
The data, submitted by 16,039 law enforcement agencies, provides information about the crimes motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.
In total, at least 7,120 hate crimes were reported by law enforcement agencies across the US, slightly down from 7,175 in 2017, the report states.
Sikh Coalition, a New York-based think tank that defends Sikh civil rights, said in a statement that it remains a “disheartening” fact that hate crimes remain systematically underreported across the US.
“While hate crimes remained relatively steady nationally, reported anti-Sikh hate crimes rose by 200 percent since 2017, making Sikhs the third most commonly targeted religious group in the dataset,” it said.
“At the end of the day, this data simply isn’t giving us the accurate information we need to effectively counteract hate against targeted communities,” said Sim J Singh, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy.
“It’s past time for action. Congress must pass the next generation of common-sense legislation that equips law enforcement to better identify and track hate incidents,” he said.
The FBI reports as many as 148 hate crimes against Asians in 2018, while those against Arabs were 82, anti-American Indian or Alaska Native (194).
According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, Americans experience an average of 250,000 hate crimes per year; this latest FBI data, by contrast, only managed to document 7,120 incidents, with less than 13 per cent of law enforcement affirmatively providing reports of hate crimes, it said.
(With inputs from PTI)