‘Raghead’ Shirts for Sale on CafePress

February 17, 2012

CafePress, one of the largest online retailers in the world, is selling shirts that incite bigotry toward Sikhs.  The shirts — which say “No More Ragheads!” and “No More Towelheads!” — are offensive and dangerous, especially in the context of hate crimes against Sikhs in the post-9/11 environment.  The Sikh Coalition has issued an open petition to CafePress, demanding that these products be removed and — equally importantly — that the company implement better internal controls to ensure that bigoted products are never sold by the company again.  If CafePress has the capacity to market, warehouse, and ship these shirts, surely they have the resources to prevent them from being sold in the first place.

If you believe that CafePress should remove these dangerous products and issue a public apology, with assurances that they will implement better internal controls to keep hateful products off the market, please make your voices heard and sign our petition today.


Why the FBI Refuses to Track Anti-Sikh Hate Crimes

February 10, 2012

The recent vandalism of a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Michigan is a sad reminder of the persistence of bigotry. In this context, the Sikh community should be aware of a serious flaw in the way that the federal government monitors anti-Sikh hate crimes:

It doesn’t.

You read that right — the FBI refuses to track anti-Sikh hate crimes, even while Sikh houses of worship are vandalized and Sikh civilians are targeted because of their distinct identity.  And that is why the Sikh Coalition encourages you to sign a petition to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the federal government track anti-Sikh hate crimes.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents hate crimes in the United States on Form 1-699, the Hate Crime Incident Report.  The statistics collected by this form allow law enforcement officials to analyze hate crime trends and allocate resources accordingly.

Unfortunately, the FBI assumes that all hate crimes against Sikhs are motivated by anti-Muslim bias.  In addition, the Sikh Coalition has learned that some FBI officials consider Sikhs to be followers of a Hindu sect.  For these reasons, hate crimes against Sikhs are not being accurately documented.  Our community remains officially invisible and irrelevant to the FBI, even though Sikhs are usually targeted because of their Sikh identity.


We believe that the FBI has the capacity to document anti-Sikh hate crimes.  For example, Form 1-699 does an extremely thorough and nuanced job documenting crimes motivated by anti-gay bias, going so far as to maintain distinct categories for anti-lesbian hate crimes and even anti-bisexual hate crimes.  In addition, Form 1-699 has been designed to capture data about hate crimes in such far flung places as auto dealerships (for new and used cars), daycare facilities, and amusement parks.

Given the willingness of the FBI to invest time and paperwork into monitoring these other categories, it should not be difficult for them to create a separate category for Sikhs.  This is an effective way for the federal government to monitor and allocate resources toward preventing hate crimes against Sikhs.  Indeed, how can you diagnose a problem if you don’t even track it?

If you believe that the federal government should track hate crimes against Sikhs, please spare one minute of your time and sign our petition today.

Another TSA Miscalculation?

February 3, 2012

The Sikh Coalition has obtained previously unreleased TSA documents.  Written in 2009, these documents show that the agency can pursue several auditing options to weed out racial and religious profiling.  In addition, the authors of the document apparently miscalculated the effectiveness of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines, recommending that TSA determine which auditing option to implement “during the interim period of time it takes to deploy advance[d] passenger screening technologies” and claiming “that advance[d] screening technologies, beyond those deployed [in 2009] will reduce or possibly eliminate perceptive profiling[.]”  As it turns out, Sikhs are still subjected to secondary pat down screenings, even after passing through AIT machines without incident, and other communities continue to report discriminatory treatment by TSA  personnel.  In this context, TSA needs to take its auditing options more seriously.

Internal TSA Documents Exposed by Sikh Coalition