Sikhs To Testify at Senate Hearing on Hate Violence
An Oak Creek Sikh temple member, who lost his mother in the Aug. 5 shootings, is among those scheduled to testify Wednesday.
National Sikh community leaders and a member of the Oak Creek Sikh temple are preparing for a U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday on violent extremism, held in response to the Aug. 5 shootings at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
Harpreet Singh Saini, whose mother was killed in the attacks, will be among those speaking at the hearing.
In his testimony, Saini will request the FBI give his mother "the dignity of being a statistic" and start tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, according to the New York-based Sikh Coalition.
The FBI does not keep track of hate crimes against Sikh-Americans, as it does other religious and racial groups, and national Sikh groups renewed calls for that to change following the attack at the Oak Creek Sikh temple, including an online petition urging the change. Wade Michael Page was long involved in white supremacist groups before he entered the Oak Creek gurdwara (Sikhs' place of worship) and killed six people and wounded four others.
The Sikh Coalition says Wednesday's hearing, which begins at 1:30 p.m. central time, is the first Congressional hearing on the threat posed by domestic extremists.
The Senate immediately responded to calls for a hearing, indicating the severity of the problem, the group said in a news release.
"As the tragedy in Oak Creek reminded us, the threat of domestic extremist hate violence is real, ever-present, and growing," said Amardeep Singh, co-founder and program director for the Sikh Coalition. "The topic of domestic extremist hate violence certainly needs a Senate platform. We expect that the hearing will bring this problem to light and explore the solutions needed to prevent another Oak Creek from happening."