A group of 26 Senate Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D -Calif.) and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller today, asking them to revise the Hate Crime Incident Report to collect data on hate crimes motivated by bias against Sikh, Hindu and Arab Americans. Today's letter follows up on a promise the Department of Justice made last year to include this data in future reports. The Department's Advisory Policy Board is currently reviewing these changes and the Senators urged quick adoption of the Board's recommendation.
"We write to respectfully request that you make three additions to the Hate Crime Incident Report form as soon as possible. In short, we believe that the form should be revised to collect data on hate crimes motivated by bias against Sikh Americans, Hindu Americans, and Arab Americans," the Senators wrote. "These senseless acts of hate-fueled violence committed against individuals and groups leave a deep impact on the targeted community as a whole. Communities shaken by hate crimes experience widespread fear and terror in the aftermath of bias-motivated crimes. We must continue our efforts to promote tolerance and prevent hate crimes. We can more effectively respond to hate crimes against Sikh Americans, Hindu Americans, and Arab Americans with accurate measurements of those crimes."
In September of 2012, Durbin chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights examining hate crimes and the threat of domestic extremism. Through an outpouring of written testimony submitted to the Subcommittee for the hearing, a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals agreed that a failure to adequately collect data on hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab Americans made it difficult to know the scope of attacks and to combat hate crimes against these communities.
Today's letter was also signed by Senators Leahy (D-Vt.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Franken (D-Minn.), Coons (D-Del.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Levin (D-Mich.), Harkin (D-Iowa), Boxer (D-Calif.), Murray (D-Wash.), Cantwell (D-Wash.), Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Cardin (D-Md.), Brown (D-Ohio), Udall (D-N.M.), Warner (D-Va.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kaine (D-Va.), and Warren (D-Mass.).