MILPITAS, California, USA—In the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Sikhs became unintended targets of hate crimes, due to their unique appearance. Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) said that the attacks have not stopped even after 13 years.
Due to their turbans and flowing beards, which are the basic articles of faith in the religion, such attacks have continued against Sikhs.
Chahal said that “Sikhs are not Muslims, Sikhs are not Hindus. Peaceful living, freedom and justice are the core values of our belief.”
“It doesn’t often happen in the Bay Area, but Sikhs in other parts of California and the U.S. are enduring racial slurs and harassment”, he added.
In 2011, two Sikhs were shot in Elk Grove. One died, in an apparent misdirected hate crime. “Fifty percent of Americans associate turbans with Islam,” Chahal said. He said that its no better that people are targeting Muslims, but he is now afraid violence against both groups could escalate due to the new war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“We want to be patriotic and support our nation and we’re all proud Americans. But it’s important that everyone understand who the enemy is,” said Satnam Singh Chahal.