Washington: 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). According to 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).
Another 91 hate crimes were reported against other religions, including 12 against Hindus and ten anti-Buddhist crimes. The data 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 that it remains a "disheartening" fact that hate crimes remain systematically under-reported across the US. "While hate crimes remained relatively steady nationally, reported anti-Sikh hate crimes rose by 200 per cent since 2017, making Sikhs the third most commonly targeted religious group in the data set," 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 reported 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.