Sikhs Remain Among Most Targeted Religious Groups for Hate Crimes in US: FBI

The FBI said that the largest groups, facing religion-based hate crimes in 2021, were anti-Jew and anti-Sikh crimes.

South Asians
2 min read
Hindi Female

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) annual compilation of hate crimes in the US, Jews and Sikhs were the two most targeted religious groups in 2021. 

The FBI said that in 2021, out of a total of 1005 religion-based hate crime incident , the largest categories included anti-Semitic at 31.9 percent and anti-Sikh incidents at 21.3 percent. 

Crimes against Muslims accounted for 9.5 percent of the religion based hate crime category, anti-Catholic and anti-Eastern Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Other) accounted for 6.1 percent and 6.5 percent respectively 

Law enforcement agencies reported a total of 7,262 incidents which involved 9,024 victims. The statistics prove how hate crimes remain a concern for minority communities across the US.

However, while presenting the data, the bureau said that year-to-year comparisons may not be appropriate or accurate since the number of local agencies submitting hate crime data had fallen significantly in 2020. 


“The significant annual under-reporting and continuation of inaccuracies further sharpens the Sikh Coalition’s longstanding concerns that the FBI’s hate crime reporting is not accurately capturing the lived experiences of underrepresented communities,” said Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy, Sim Singh Attariwala.

Even today, Sikhism remains a misunderstood religion in the US. Many victims of hate crimes who were Sikhs, were mistaken for Muslims, also a religious community that has been at the receiving end of hate crimes and discrimination in the US. 

Sikhs have been subjected to bias and bigotry since first arriving in the United States in the early 1900s, but in the past two decades, a wave of hate began in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. 

The bureau said that 64.8 per cent of victims were targeted due to their offenders' bias towards their race, ethnicity or ancestry. 

The rise in the number of anti-Sikh crimes in the US also grabbed the attention of Indian officials in the past.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue of hate crimes against the Sikhs in America during his joint press conference after the 2+2 dialogue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last year.

Tragic Incidents for the Community 

On 5 August 2012, a gunman walked into a Gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and killed six Sikh worshippers, injuring several more.

Back in March 2017, a Sikh American girl was harassed on a subway train in New York when a white man, mistaking her to be from the Middle East, allegedly shouted "go back to Lebanon" and "you don't belong in this country."


Rouble Claire, a 66-year-old Sikh man who has been living in California's Sutter County for decades, was racially abused by a woman at a local grocery store in 2021, a court finally ruled in late January this year against the two errant police deputies and Sutter County, saying that they had violated the rights of the Sikh man.

Meanwhile, the Sikh Coalition, a volunteer organizstion, paid their respects and remembered victims of hate-crimes including Balbir Singh Sodhi in Arizona, Gurmej Singh Atwal and Surinder Singh in California, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Suveg Singh Khattra, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh, Prakash Singh, Paramjit Kaur, and Baba Punjab Singh in Wisconsin and several others. 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  US Hate Crimes   FBI   Sikh-American 

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