Sikh groups, others seek Senate hearing on hate crime
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    Sikh groups, others seek Senate hearing on hate crime

    Sikh groups, others seek Senate hearing on hate crime

    The New York-based Sikh Coalition and some 150 other organisations representing various religious and other interest groups have sought a comprehensive Senate hearing on hate crimes and the proliferation of hate groups in the US.

    Raising the demand in the wake of the recent Wisconsin gurdwara shooting and the killing of another Sikh in Milwaukee just a week later, the organizations have banded together and written a joint letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold the hearing.

    Over the past decade, the number of hate groups has shot up by 60 per cent to well over 1,000 groups, they say, citing estimates by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which has been specializing on studies of hate crimes in the US for years.

    “In 2010, more than 47 per cent of hate crimes were racially motivated; 20 per cent were motivated by the religion of the victim; 19 per cent were based on sexual orientation and almost 13 per cent of all hate crimes were based on ethnicity or national origin,” says the letter addressed to Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, chairman and ranking member respectively of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    According to FBI, at least 6,628 hate crimes were reported in the US in 2010. But the letter stresses that there is gross underreporting of hate crimes out of fear. It cites a 2005 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, suggesting that the true number of hate crimes in the US may be 15 times higher than what is reported.

    Besides Sikhs, groups representing other faiths including Muslims, Hindus and Jews have also taken the initiative. They include the Islamic Centre of North America, Hindu American Foundation and the American Jewish Committee. Several South Asian groups have signed the letter. Other victims of hate crime such as gay and lesbian groups have also come together.

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