Sikhs in US join demand for legislation on hate crimes

The Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) has joined over 500 religious leaders across the United States in their demand for the passage of a national legislation on hate crimes.

"We are proud to join with others in this effort to create greater support for this very important legislation," said SCORE national chairman Dr Rajwant Singh.

"We will send a clear and committed message against hate and persecution."

Since September 11, 2001, American Sikhs have endured "an increasing level of hate crime and religious intolerance," he said, adding a letter will be sent to the Congress with the message that the inter-faith community supports the passage of the national hate crimes legislation.

Many groups across religious disciplines have come together to address racial, religious and ethnic challenges that confront them. Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders have joined in the letter-writing campaign.

The letter, which will be sent to Congressional leaders in both houses of Congress, says, "We, the undersigned religious leaders, write you to urge swift passage of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2003, without any weakening amendments.

"We must make it clear that neither hate nor violence is a traditional American value; both are antithetical to democracy and true spirituality. Though legislation cannot remove hate from the hearts and minds of individuals, hate crime legislation can help to create a society that is unbending in its intolerance of hate-motivated violence."