Anti-Violence . Legal . Policy . Resolution

Resolution on Hate Crimes Against Sikh-Americans


For Immediate Release 

Contact: Amardeep Singh   (202) 607-6524 |  Gurpreet Singh     (703) 868-4106

Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution on Hate Crimes Against Sikh-Americans Washington, DC, October 18, 2001:  The Senate today passed a resolution originally introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans.

The resolution, S. Con. Res. 74, expresses the sense of the Senate that crimes against Sikh-Americans in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks are to be condemned, prevented and prosecuted.  The resolution specifically calls upon local and law enforcement authorities to "prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all those who commit crimes" against Sikh-Americans.

"Unfortunately, in the aftermath of September 11, there are those, who in misguided anger and fear turned on their neighbors and fellow Americans.

They mistook symbols of religious belief, such as turbans and beards, for distrust, terror, and destruction. Recent terrorist attacks should never cloud our judgment when it comes to our fellow Sikh-Americans. Sikh-Americans share with us the pain and sorrow of September 11 tragedy," said Senator Durbin.

Sikh men are easily recognized by their turban and beard. Both are required articles of religious faith for Sikhs.  Many are unaware that Sikhism is a distinct religious faith and that most Sikhs are from South Asia and so do not belong to the religious and ethnic groups associated with the attacks. Sikh-Americans strongly condemn backlash attacks against any and all Americans.

Senator Durbin introduced the resolution, which was co-sponsored by 37 other Senators, as a result of a meeting with Amrith Kaur and Gurpreet Singh, senior members of the Sikh-American Association, a Washington, DC-based group working to protect the Sikh-Americans following the terrorist attacks. The Sikh-American Association is part of The Sikh Coalition, a group of Sikh organizations that have come together to address the concerns of Sikh-Americans generated by the events of September 11.  Members of the Sikh-American Association and The Sikh Coalition worked together to introduce and enlist support for the measure.

"For Sikhs-Americans, the passage of this resolution will begin to restore the sense of security that has been lost as a result of the many backlash attacks." said Amardeep Singh, Director of Legal Affairs for The Sikh Coalition.  "The resolution is a clear commitment from our government that it will not let terror tear America apart," said Mr. Gurpreet Singh.

The resolution was passed  10/18




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