SALDEF Raises Sikh American Issues with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
The new name of the Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART)
Washington, DC – On Monday the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest Sikh American civil rights advocacy organization, met with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss a variety of issues relevant to the Sikh American community.
At the meeting, SALDEF Associate Director Rajbir Singh Datta discussed the need for making the post of Special Counsel for Post-9/11 National Origin Discrimination, created after September 11, 2001, a full-time and permanent position. The individual in this position served as a vital resource to the Sikh American community on matters related to civil rights and civil liberties.
“The position of Special Counsel for Post-9/11 National Origin Discrimination has allowed the Sikh Community a personal contact within the Department of Justice.” said SALDEF President Mirin Kaur. “This individual was a liaison between the government and the community and we urge the Attorney General to make this position permanent.”
SALDEF also discussed the need for a separate Sikh category in the hate crime section of the FBI Annual Hate Crimes Report, continuing federal dialogue with the Sikh American community and increasing recruitment of Sikh Americans into the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney’s Office.
“The meeting provided a necessary forum to discuss specific issues affecting the Sikh American community.” said Mr. Datta.
Other concerns which were addressed included immigration policies, the secret NSA wiretapping program, the effects of the PATRIOT Act, and the tight regulation of charities. Representatives from the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh communities also attended.
To view some of SALDEF’s past meetings with high-ranking government officials, please visit:
Assistant Attorney General Acosta Meets with Sikhs in Atlanta; Addresses Discrimination in Schools
NOTE: SALDEF is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. All donations to SALDEF are tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.
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