WASHINGTON – The Justice Department will begin keeping numbers on hate crimes committed against Sikhs and six other groups, in connection with Monday’s one-year anniversary of the killing of six Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wis.
Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement Friday in a blog post. Holder said FBI Director Robert Mueller had approved a recommendation from the agency’s advisory policy board to track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, Arabs, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox Christians.
“Having accurate information allows law enforcement leaders and policymakers to make informed decisions about the allocation of resources and priorities – decisions that impact real people, and affect public safety in every neighborhood and community,” Holder wrote in the blog post.
The addition had long been sought by members of the Sikh community.
Holder also announced a $500,000 grant for mental health and trauma services to those affected by the Oak Creek shooting, including survivors and family members.
A year ago Monday, Wade Michael Page, who had ties to white supremacist groups, walked into the Milwaukee-area Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and opened fire. He killed six priests and worshippers and wounded five others, and then fatally shot himself after he was wounded in the parking lot by a police sniper.