A Sikh man, who chose to remain anonymous, and his mother were attacked in New York on the night of August 7, in a hate crime which has sparked outrage among members of the Sikh community.
The mother and son were attacked by a group of about 10 teenagers who called them “Osama Bin Laden,” and told them to “go back to your own country.” The group included a white male, three females while the rest were black men.
Further, the group used derogatory language towards the man’s mother, ridiculing her facial hair and appearance. The boy’s mother was visiting him from India.
The Sikh man, a physician scientist, said that both he and his mother maintain uncut hair and wear the turban in accordance with Sikh beliefs.
The teenagers ignored the Sikh man as he urged them to stop, and instead surrounded him and punched him in the face and neck. After attempting to throw a bottle at the Sikh man, the teenagers fled.
The man said he tried to pursue the group, but was unable to because he was in a lot of pain. He was then treated in hospital before a call to the police.
I want the New York Police Department to investigate this attack as a hate crime and arrest the people who attacked me before they hurt someone else. I want witnesses to come forward and contact the police immediately.
[My mother] thought that Americans respect religious freedom and that the police and the government here do everything in their power to prevent violence and arrest criminals. I don’t want her to lose faith that justice will be done.
Urging witnesses to call federal authorities and give any information they may have on the group of teenagers, the Sikh coalition emphasised that “enough is enough.” After two attacks in against Sikhs in just a few days, the Sikh Coalition called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to work with the community to end violence and discrimination against Sikhs.
“We’re tired of being targeted again and again by bigots, but Sikh Americans are not afraid and are not going to let a small group of narrow-minded individuals get us down,” Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition, said.
“We look forward to working with the New York City government, including the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio, to arrest the attackers, stop hate crimes in New York City, and make all of our communities safe,” Singh said.
The religious attack occurred just days after a Sikh man, Sandeep Singh, was brutally injured when he was hit and dragged nearly 30 feet on a public street in Queens by a pick-up truck following an argument with the truck’s driver who called him a “terrorist” who should “go back to your country.”