Posted by on June 06, 2013 in Blog

AAI welcomes the decision of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board (APB) recommending that the FBI Hate Crimes Incident Report (1-699) be amended to include crimes committed against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arab Americans. If FBI Director Robert Mueller adopts the APB’s decision, the Department of Justice will begin collecting and reporting hate crimes committed against these communities by 2015.

“This is a crucial step toward ensuring that federal law enforcement agents can protect at-risk communities,” said AAI Executive Director Maya Berry. “Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, thousands of American citizens perceived to be Arab or Muslim have been the victims of hate-related violence. The inclusion of Arab Americans, Hindus, and Sikhs on the hate crimes form will help groups like AAI counter the misinformation and fight the bigotry in which this violence is based. And it will give federal agencies and law enforcement officers the tools they need to fulfill their charge to protect and defend all Americans.”

AAI was among a broad coalition of 79 organizations who wrote to the FBI Advisory Policy Board last month urging them to amend the 1-699 form to “increase public awareness of these crimes, encourage victims to report these crimes, and expand existing engagement and relationships between law enforcement authorities and these communities.” The support of these coalition partners from the civil rights and religious communities was critical to the success of this effort.

Efforts to expand the parameters of hate crime reporting were strongly supported by our members, as well as by members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who spearheaded multiple sign-on letters encouraging his House colleagues to support this effort, said yesterday “While this is a monumental step forward, our work cannot end here. That’s why I’m calling on FBI Director Mueller to fully and urgently implement the Board’s recommendation.” 

Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated his support for the proposal, which will now go to FBI Director Robert Mueller for approval, with implementation expected by 2015. AAI encourages Director Mueller to adopt this measure as quickly as possible.