For Immediate Release: August 7, 2012
New York City – Human Rights First welcomes the government’s swift and appropriate response to Sunday’s shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and urges political leaders and law enforcement to double down on efforts to stop similar hate crimes before they occur.
“This horrific shooting is a stark reminder of the irrational post-9/11 backlash against Muslims and Sikhs,” said Human Rights First’s Innokenty Grekov. “At this critical moment in time, all Americans need to speak up and speak out to reject stereotypes and prejudices that lead to exclusion and even violence. We need to demonstrate that we are serious about securing religious freedom and confronting hatred at home and abroad. Violence against any religious group goes against our values as Americans and weakens our position as an international example in the fight to defend the rights of all.”
The U.S. government response so far has included an FBI investigation of the shooting, as well as statements from officials holding the highest government offices, including President Obama. Human Rights First notes that these actions, steps included in the organization’s Ten Point Plan for Combating Hate Crime, demonstrate a strong commitment by the U.S. government to tackle hate crime head on and prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent.
“While it seems likely that the perpetrators will be held accountable in this case, it’s clear that more must be done to prevent these acts before they occur,” concluded Grekov.