US Congress introduces bill to honor Post-9/11 hate crime victims – including Sikhs

WASHINGTON DC, USA—Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced House Resolution 413 earlier this month to honor the victims of hate crimes motivated by Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, where individuals were targeted by violence and hatred because they were Muslim or perceived to be Muslim.

The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Andre Carson (D-IN), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Paul Tonko (D-NY).

“While no one denies that the 9/11 attacks were abhorrent and tragic, what is often forgotten is the scores of Americans who were discriminated against, abused, and murdered due to a backlash rooted in senseless hatred and ignorance,” Honda told NBC News. “This resolution is an important step in acknowledging and denouncing the violence and harassment that was incurred by countless innocent Americans, particularly in our Muslim and Sikh communities.”

Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on August 10, 2012. Image: Jeffrey Phelps/AP

The bill names Sikh American Balbir Singh Sodi and several other individuals who were killed in hate crimes immediately after September 11, 2001, because they were perceived to be Muslim or Arab.

In the bill’s summary, it recognizes that Islamophobia is a growing threat to Arab, South Asian, Sikh, and Muslim American communities, which have been the targets of numerous hate crimes since 2001. It also recognizes the positive contributions of these communities.

“As one of the thousands of Japanese Americans who was wrongly imprisoned in internment camps simply because of my ethnicity, I vehemently oppose broad mistreatment of people based on their race, ethnicity, or religion,” Honda said.

The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.


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