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Friday, September 09, 2005

British Sikhs and Hindus More Vulnerable than Muslims?

Continuing our discussion of the experiences of British Sikhs and Hindus after the terrorist bombings of July 7, 2005, a series of articles are now stating that Sikhs and Hindus in Britain are "more vulnerable" to hate crimes than Muslims [please see e.g., here, here, and here].

While Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims have been targeted in part because of the failure of a hate crime perpetrator to ask or care about what religion the "brown" person actually is, it is surprising to read that Sikhs and Hindus are more vulnerable to hate than Muslims. That is, Sikhs perhaps may be thought of as more susceptible because of their distinctive use of the turban and the association of the turban with Islamic fundamentalists, such as bin Laden. However, the suggestion that Hindus are also more targeted than Muslims is a bit more troubling.

The suggestion comes after the following data was released:
Figures released by the Metropolitan Police revealed that from July 7, 2005 until August 10 there were 932 instances of faith hate crime against Indians(predominantly Hindus and Sikhs) as opposed to approximately 600 instances of faith hate crime against Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims.
And now for the analysis:
"In June there were only three instances of faith hate crime against Hindus and Sikhs," said Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain at the special meeting organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain and the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association.

It should be evident from an objective look at the figures and the spin from the Hindu Forum of Britain that the statement that Sikhs and Hindus are more vulnerable to hate crimes in Britain is bunk. Moreover, it should also be noted that this story has only been picked up by Indian news organizations, none wholly based in the U.K. or anywhere else outside of India for that matter. In fact, one of the sources of this article is the Press Trust of India.

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