WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - In the wake of the Oak Creek massacre, the U.S. Justice Department plans to meet with religious groups next month to consider asking the FBI to start collecting data on hate crimes against Sikhs.
Roy Austin Jr. of the department’s civil rights division told a Senate subcommittee, “We are going to take action.”
That action was requested Wednesday by 18-year-old Harpreet Saini, who lost his mother in the August 5th shooting massacre at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. He testified at a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing on what the government should do in the wake of the tragedy.
Over 400 people, many wearing Sikh turbans, attended the hearing.
Subcommittee chairman Dick Durbin said he agreed with Saini – and he told Austin that the government is moving too slowly on requests to collect the hate crime data. He said Sikh communities had spent the last two years asking for such an accounting.
Austin said the current hate crime reporting system is far from complete. He said 6,600 hate crimes were reported in 2010, the latest year available. And the Justice Department does not know the actual number, because it cannot count crimes which are not reported.
He said 3,000 law enforcement agencies did not respond to a hate crime survey in 2010.