Sikh organisations in the UK have been writing to the Home Office about the neglect of non-Abrahamic faith communities in the Government’s 40-page Action Against Hate report.
The Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) are still waiting for a response from the Home Office. They wrote to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd on 30 November 2016.
We ask the government to address community concerns by updating ‘Action Against Hate’ in include reference to non-Abrahamic victims of hate crime. Sikhs and Hindus urgently need this reassurance from the Government. Significant funding has been given to Muslim and Jewish communities in tackling Islamophobia and anti-Semistism, but not a penny has been given to Sikhs and Hindus. Why?
Concerns about the report, published in July 2016, were raised by Lord Singh of Wimbledon, Director of the NSO.
Details 45 examples of hate crime against Abrahamic faiths [can be found] but not a single example of the many, well-documented mistaken-identity hate crimes suffered by Sikhs and others—and this in a report emanating from a department with specifically designated officers to consider hate crime against the Jewish and Muslim communities but not anyone else.
Hardeep Singh from the NSO says the report ‘failed to acknowledge the suffering of Sikhs, Hindus and other non-Abrahamic faiths.’
There have been many hate crimes against Sikhs that are undocumented in the report. For instance, the horrific terror attack in North Wales where a man with neo-Nazi views attempted to murder Sikh dentist, Sarandev Bhambra.
Additionally a former soldier racially abused his Sikh neighbours, calling them ‘ISIS bitches.’
Hardeep Singh says his organisation have been highlighting the Government’s ‘inadequate’ approach in tackling hate crime against non-Abrahamic religions.
We understand that non-Muslims are still being recorded incorrectly under the ‘Islamophobic hate crime’ category, despite revealing this through FOI last year. This is simply not good enough.
The NSO’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed ‘26% of victims of ‘Islamophobic hate crimes’ recorded by MET between 01/01/16 – 30/06/16 are non-Muslim or unknown faith.’
In December, Amber Rudd visited a Sikh Gurdwara. The Home Office issued a press release with details of the visit and comments from Sikhs.
Hardeep Singh argued “those comments in the press release weren’t helpful. It’s a great gesture going to a Gurdwara but it hasn’t actually changed things.”
The Sikh Federation (UK) echoed the concerns of the NSO.
The Hate Crime Action Plan that was issued in July appeared to have been written as though the estimated 750,000 British Sikh community did not exist.
The Sikh Federation (UK) is concerned the Government will ignore the legal recognition of Sikhs as a race. If the Government uses the existing ‘ethnic group’ category from the Census 2011, the Sikh Federation says data on Sikhs will not be specifically collected and any discrimination will not therefore be addressed.
Many public bodies and officials ignore the fact that Sikhs are not just a religion, but a legally recognised ethnic/racial group as determined by the highest court in the country over 30 years ago.
Anti-Racism Cardiff are waiting for a response from the Home Office to a FOI request asking for drafts of the Action Against Hate report.
If you need to report a hate crime call the Sikh Helpline.