CHICAGO, IL, USA—On Tuesday evening, Inderjit Singh Mukker, a Sikh American resident in the Darien suburb of Chicago, was viciously assaulted after the assailant pulled up to his car yelling racial slurs, including, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!”
Mr. Mukker, a U.S. citizen and father of two, was on his way to the grocery store on S. Cass Avenue when the verbal taunting was initiated. Mr. Mukker turned onto Cass Avenue, but was repeatedly cut off by the driver. Mr. Mukker pulled over to the side of the road to let him pass, but the driver instead pulled in front of his car and aggressively approached Mr. Mukker’s vehicle. The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mr. Mukker in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, bleed profusely and suffer a fractured cheekbone and a laceration to his cheek. He was rushed to the hospital, where he received six stitches, treatment for lacerations, bruising and swelling. The suspect is in custody.
Sikhs wear their articles of faith (including a turban and beard) to show their commitment to justice, equality and the rights of all. While Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years, the community has faced disproportionate discrimination and targeted hate crimes in the 14 years since 9/11. To learn more basics about the Sikh faith and community, click here.
“We believe Mr. Mukker was targeted and assaulted because of his Sikh religious appearance, race or national origin,” said the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur. “We request an immediate investigation and call on local and federal agencies to investigate this attack as a hate crime.”
This attack, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, is just the latest in a line of violent attacks on Sikhs in America. Last August, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh father in New York City, was run over and dragged 30 feet after being called a “terrorist.” In 2012, a gunman with Neo-Nazi ties walked into a Sikh house of worship (gurdwara) and shot and killed six innocent Sikh victims in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
“No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country,” said the victim, Mr. Mukker. “I’m thankful for the swift response of authorities to apprehend the individual, but without this being fully investigated as a hate crime, we risk ignoring the horrific pattern of intolerance, abuse and violence that Sikhs and other minority communities in this country continue to face.”
The Sikh Coalition has been representing hate crime victims throughout the United States for the past 14 years and is representing Mr. Mukker in this case. For all media inquires, please contact Media and Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith. Mark can put you in contact with our Legal team for interviews.