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U.S. Justice officials want FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs, other minorities


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - U.S. Justice officials have asked the FBI to start tracking hate crimes against members of the Sikh religious community – as well as other minorities.

That’s what a federal prosecutor and the president’s top civil rights attorney said in Milwaukee Monday.

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, joined Milwaukee U.S. attorney James Santelle in a series of meetings with Sikhs, interfaith leaders, and others.

Wisconsin Sikhs had asked Congress to start tracking hate crimes against their religion, in the aftermath of the August 5th shooting spree at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Six people were killed that day, and four others were wounded.

Santelle said the Justice Department wants Sikhs to know that it ensures everyone’s right to practice their faith freely, and without a threat of violence.

At Monday’s meetings, people raised questions about gun control, hate crimes, racial disparities among prisoners, and immigration reform.

Perez said he was very optimistic that an immigration reform package will be sent to Congress next year – and that both parties can support it.