Washington: A bipartisan group of 23 lawmakers have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, the way it does for other communities.

Formed last month to address the Sikh community's issues, the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, co-chaired by Democratic House member Judy Chu and Republican David Valadao, made the request in a letter to the FBI last week.

The new letter builds on earlier letters spearheaded by Democrat House member Joseph Crowley and Democrat senators Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin.

About 140 members of the US Congress have so far endorsed the Sikh Coalition's request for the policy change that it says will translate into expanded Sikh awareness training for law enforcement officials and significantly strengthen efforts to fight hate crimes.

At a congressional hearing last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder publicly recommended that the FBI begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arab-Americans.  

An advisory body of law enforcement experts will make a decision about the issue during the first week of June. The Sikh Coalition first requested that the FBI give Sikhs targeted for hate crimes the dignity of recognition in January 2011.


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