Sikhs in the US experienced a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes last year, a leading community advocacy organisation has said, citing an FBI report which showed that 2019 was the deadliest year on record with the highest number of hate crime murders since 1991.
The South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a not-for-profit organisation, cited a report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and said that the Sikh community in the US saw a slight decrease in the number of reported anti-Sikh incidents in 2019, after a record 200 per cent increase in 2018.
While crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment decreased, with 176 reported, overall hate crime incidents targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims has been up since 2015, it said.
Since November 2015, SAALT and its partners have tracked 348 incidents of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric, and 733 incidents of hate violence targeting Muslims and Asian Americans, and those perceived as Muslim or Asian American.
As per the FBI’s 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, a total of 7,314 hate crime incidents were reported by the law enforcement agencies.
SAALT said racially motivated hate crime incidents made up the majority of hate crimes reported in 2019, with nearly half of the incidents motivated by anti-Black racism. The number of anti-Black hate crimes was the highest since2011.
There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, it said, adding that 22 of those were the racially motivated murders in the single El Paso shooting last August.
There was a nine per cent increase in reported hate crime incidents against Latinos,and yet the deadly El Paso shooting was categorised under “anti-other race/ethnicity/ancestry” despite well documented anti-Mexican sentiment.
SAALT said that hate violence targeting South Asians, Arabs and Muslims is fuelled by state sanctioned white supremacy.
“Policies and practices like the Muslim ban, family separation and ongoing police violence endanger our communities because they embolden white supremacists.
“From the constant vandalizing of mosques, harassment of Muslim women, to the targeting of South Asians in their own neighbourhoods, we have seen the very real and constant impact of this violence,” SAALT added.