Anti-Sikh hate crime up 140%, says FBI annual data

The trends in recent data continue to confirm what the Sikh Coalition has determined for more than 20 years: Sikhs remain uniquely vulnerable to the risk of targeted hate

Anti-Sikh hate crime numbers from FBI – Graphic: Asia Samachar

By Asia Samachar | United States |

There were 214 anti-Sikh hate crime reported in the United States for the whole of 2021, up 140% from the year before. The 89 anti-Sikh incidents in 2020 was itself 82% higher than the year before.

These numbers are captured in Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) annual data on hate crimes and bias incidents. The most latest published covered 2021.

“The trends in the recent data continue to confirm what the Sikh Coalition has determined for more than 20 years: our community remains uniquely vulnerable to the risk of targeted hate,” according to a statement issued by New York-based The Sikh Coalition.

It noted that the 214 incidents is the single greatest number of hate crimes documented since the FBI started reporting on anti-Sikh hate crimes in 2015. In 2021, Sikhs were among the top two most targeted faith groups for hate crimes across the country, behind the Jewish American community.

Nationally, there was a 12% decrease in reported hate crimes between 2020-2021, but a 9% increase in anti-Asian hate incidents.

However, it said that this is also the fourth consecutive year that there has been a decline in law enforcement agencies participating in reporting hate crime data to the FBI. This significant decrease is likely due, at least in part, to a planned transition to a new reporting system, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), that law enforcement agencies were required to transition to by January 1, 2022.

Unfortunately, a significant number of large agencies – including those in high population areas like New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Jose – did not make the transition in time to be included in the 2020-2021 FBI dataset. Whether due to the NIBRS transition or other factors, there was an approximately 22% decrease in voluntary reporting by law enforcement agencies compared to the previous dataset.


While these numbers and trends paint an alarming picture that generally aligns with the Sikh Coalition’s firsthand experience helping survivors of hate and bias across the nation, the organisation noted that it we must be acknowledge that the data released is wildly incomplete, and there are inaccurate reports that almost definitely impact the numbers.

Similar to last year, it said there is an unusually high number of Sikh hate crime reports coming from a handful of jurisdictions that the Sikh Coalition does not find credible and demands further explanation. It also noted that there are also questions about the specific kinds of hate incidents being reported in these areas, leading us to further question the data’s accuracy and credibility.

“The significant annual underreporting and continuation of inaccuracies further sharpens the Sikh Coalition’s longstanding concerns that the FBI’s hate crime reporting is not accurately capturing the lived experiences of underrepresented communities.” said Sikh Coalition senior manager of policy & advocacy Sim J. Singh Attariwala.

“Despite recent policy advancements to combat hate crimes, more must be done to correct gaps in hate crime reporting and to protect all communities. At a minimum, all law enforcement agencies that receive federal funds should be required to accurately report hate crimes to the FBI.”

The Sikh Coalition was founded over 20 years ago in response to an increase in bias, bigotry, and backlash against the Sikh community across the US.

This year marked the 10 year anniversary of the deadly attack on the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, in 2012.


Memorializing the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek Gurdwara carnage, Oak Creek, Wisconsin!​ (Asia Samachar, 6 Aug 2022)

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