Washington, D.C. – A Federal Bureau of Investigation Advisory Policy Board voted on Wednesday to begin formally reporting and tracking data on anti-Arab, anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh hate crimes, as well as hate crimes committed against other minority religious groups including Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Christians and Buddhists. Though religion-based hate crimes are already prosecutable under federal hate crime laws, the FBI had not previously reported data on the religion of hate crime victims as comprehensively as it will now. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement on this policy shift, which Interfaith Alliance worked with its coalition partner organizations to secure:
“We have made great strides in recent years in our ability to prosecute and prevent hate crimes. Yet, our ability to track these crimes has not kept pace. The Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation that the FBI begin collecting and breaking down additional data on crimes directed against Sikhism, Islam and Hinduism, and individuals adhering to and communities associated with other minority religions, is an important step. I look forward to working with the FBI and the Department of Justice to see that this important change is properly and rapidly implemented.”
“From news reports and anecdotes alone, there is clear, specific, demonstrated evidence that members of these religious and ethnic groups are the targets of hate crimes—and that these crimes are too often under- or un-reported. No law, no data alone, can remove hatred from an America increasingly rife with uncivil and narrow-minded bigotry. Yet, more detailed data collection and reporting will improve public awareness of this problem as well as our ability to see where more education and engagement is necessary to prevent future crimes. Beyond that—every story should be heard, every incident should be counted, and every victim deserves justice.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.