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Senators to Trump: Form task force for checking hate crimes


Washington, April 5: A bipartisan group of over a dozen influential American Senators have asked US President Donald Trump to establish a presidential task force to fight hate violence amid increasing instances of hate crimes in the country.

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"We urge you to create a Presidential Task Force on hate violence and we hope we can work with you to stop the rise in hate across the country," the Senators wrote in a letter dated April 3. Led by Senator Maria Cantwell, the letter said a new presidential task force to prevent and combat hate violence will make addressing this issue a national priority.

Among another signatory to the letter were Senators Edward Markey, Kristen Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Chris Van Hollen, Amy Klobucher, Chris Murphy, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Robert Casey, Richard Durbin, Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Duckworth.

In the letter, the Senators said the task force would convene the brightest minds to develop solutions and enable stakeholders to share and disseminate best practices more widely.

"Across the US, we have seen hate violence and threats against religious and racial minorities become more and more commonplace. Just last month, a Sikh American man was shot and wounded in Kent, Washington. These crimes and threats of violence fly in the face of our core values of tolerance, respect, and freedom of religion," Cantwell said.

Cantwell said she and her colleagues are urging Trump to create a new presidential task force on preventing and combating hate violence to begin an important national dialogue on how best to counter hate. "Together, we can put a stop to the rise in hate across our country," she said. On March 3, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot near Seattle after the gunman allegedly told him to go back to your own country.

On February 22, Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed in Olathe, Kansas after the attacker yelled, get out of my country. The first three months of 2017 have witnessed steady reports of harassment, threats, and violence against religious minorities in the United States and their places of worship, the Senator noted.

"We applaud Senator Cantwell and her colleagues for recommending concrete action to prevent hate violence," said Rajdeep Singh Jolly, Interim Managing Director of Programs at the Sikh Coalition. Since September 11, 2001, the Sikh Coalition estimates that a Sikh American is hundreds of times more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than an average American, often because Sikhs wear turbans and maintain unshorn beards.

"Hate impacts us all," said Seattle-area Sikh community leader, Jasmit Singh. "We must do more to combat it in local communities across the United States and that starts with our federal officials making prevention of hate violence a top priority," he said.


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