September 9, 2010 (Washington, DC) - Earlier this week, the Sikh Coalition's Director of Law and Policy, along with two dozen interfaith representatives, met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss strategies to minimize the threat of hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims, Sikhs, and South Asians.
The meeting was organized in response to increasing hate crimes and bias toward Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. Community representatives asked the Attorney General to make a public statement underscoring the federal government's commitment to religious freedom, public safety, and vigorous prosecution of hate crimes. Such a statement could deter individuals from committing acts of violence against Arabs, Muslims, Sikhs, and South Asians.
The Sikh Coalition delivered three messages to the Attorney General: (1) that the overwhelming majority of Americans who wear turbans are Sikhs; (2) that ignorance and bigotry make Sikhs vulnerable to hate crimes; and (3) that it is imperative for Attorney General Holder to publicly remind the nation that bigotry and violence against any community will not be tolerated.
Sikh Coalition Rejects All Forms of Bigotry
Consistent with the Sikh obligation to defend human rights for all people, the Sikh Coalition rejects bigotry toward Muslims. We support the right of Muslims to worship in peace, and we condemn threats to burn their religious scriptures.
We encourage Sikhs nationwide to extend support and solidarity to their Muslim neighbors and continue to engage in interfaith dialogue with all religious communities in the cause of promoting interfaith harmony.