Sikhs in the United States saw a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes last year, a leading community advocate said. She cited an FBI report which found that 2019 was the deadliest year on record, with the highest number of hate crimes since 1991.
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a nonprofit, cited a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), saying that the Sikh community in the US saw a slight decrease in the number of reported anti-Sikh incidents in 2019 after a record increase of 200 percent in 2018.
While crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment decreased, there have been a total of 176 reported incidents of hate crimes against and perceived Muslims since 2015.
Since November 2015, SAALT and its partners have heard of 348 incidents of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric and 733 cases of hateful violence against Muslims and Asian Americans, as well as Muslim or Asian-American persons.
A total of 7,314 hate crime incidents were reported by law enforcement agencies, according to the FBI’s 2019 hate crime report.
According to SAALT, racially motivated hate crime incidents accounted for the majority of hate crimes reported in 2019, with nearly half of the incidents being motivated by racism against blacks. The number of hate crimes against blacks was the highest since 2011.
There were 51 hate crime homicides in 2019. 22 of these were racially motivated murders in the El Paso shooting last August.
Reported incidents of hate crimes against Latinos increased by nine percent, and yet, despite well-documented anti-Mexican sentiment, the fatal shooting in El Paso was classified as “anti-racial / ethnic / ancestral”. SAALT said that hate violence against South Asians, Arabs and Muslims is fueled by state-sanctioned white supremacy.
“Policies and practices such as Muslim prohibition, family separation and ongoing police violence put our communities at risk because they encourage white supremacists.
“From the constant demolition of mosques, to the harassment of Muslim women, to targeting South Asians in their own neighborhoods, we’ve seen the very real and ongoing effects of this violence,” added SAALT.