lllinois Rep. Krishnamoorthi says Indian-American constituents described personal experiences of hate, discrimination

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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, his wife Priya, a physician, with President Barack Obama (Photo Mitchell Canoff, courtesy Raja Krishnamoorthi)

Illinois’s only Indian-American lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi who represents District 8, has been busy meeting minority constituents in Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs to gauge their concerns and hone his strategy for addressing them on Capitol Hill.

Krishnamoorthi said he has been actively working with the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Muslim-American communities in and around his district to speak to their unique and shared concerns and met several leaders from these communities.

“People are concerned about growing number of hate crimes and about making sure we remain a tolerant society,” Krishnamoorthi told News India Times. During his meetings, he said, “A lot of people reported incidents of discrimination, especially some Sikh friends have been accosted and treated poorly,” Krishnamoorthi said. Some have been told to “go back to their own country,” he recounted, adding, “Someone was shown a handgun in a very intimidating manner.”

Furthermore, Krishnamoorthi said, “Hindu and Muslim Americans reported (to me) incidents of people talking to them poorly.  We have to take note of it and talk about it in a group and hope people feel secure. But it can’t be solved overnight,” the Indian-American lawmaker said.

During the meetings, Krishnamoorthi expressed his “strong objections” to a CNN program Believer’s a documentary on a small Hindu sect in India. He also detailed the work he had been doing on Capitol Hill on immigration issues, and to address the “national increase in hate crimes.”

Krishnamoorthi also visited the BAPS Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois where he was felicitated for his election to Congress, and he met with leaders to further discuss the concerns of the community.

He recently visited the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park and Muslim Society Inc. in Glendale Heights.  In Congress, he said he works “every day to support our communities on such issues as immigration and religious freedom while fighting to combat the surge in hate crimes and broader hostility which has struck members of our community across the country, and sewn fear in many others.”

After the Feb. 22 shooting of two Indian men in Olathe, Kansas, in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a young techie, was murdered in cold blood by a white man, Krishnamoorthi formally called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use the full powers of his office to combat what he saw as a “national surge in hate crimes that had begun in the preceding months.”

As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Krishnamoorthi asked the committee to hold a hearing on the issue through a formal letter and a speech on the House Floor. He has also authored and is circulating a congressional letter calling upon Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to use the resources of his department to address the increase in hate crimes against religious minorities in the country. That letter is gaining traction with more signatories, News India Times learnt.

Krishnamoorthi also serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and is a ranking member, and top Democrat, on the Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules.

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