WASHINGTON (TIP): A turbaned Sikh who has lived in America for years after becoming a naturalized US citizen was subjected to a bloody assault in a Chicago suburb on Sept 9 in an apparent hate crime during which the perpetrator called him a “terrorist” and “bin laden,” while asking him to “go back to your country.”
Inderjit Singh Mukker, 53, a father of two, was on his way to a grocery store when he was reportedly tailgated by another vehicle. When he pulled over, expecting the other vehicle to pass, the driver of the tailgating vehicle got out, stormed towards Makkar, and repeatedly punched him in the face while abusing him, according to an account provided by the Sikh Coalition, a Sikh advocacy group. Mukker lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital, where he received treatment for a fractured cheekbone, bruising and blood loss and six stitches for the lacerations on his face. Police later took the suspected assailant into custody for questioning.
“We believe 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.” The assault, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, is the latest in a line of sporadic but 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
In 2012, a gunman with Neo-Nazi ties walked into a gurdwara and shot and killed six Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The victim in Chicago, which is President Obama’s home town, himself spoke about the assault, commending the swift response of the authorities in apprehending the perpetrator but warning that “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.” “No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country,” he added.
While there are occasional attacks on Sikhs and other minorities in the US, they broadly get to practice their faith freely. Many of them, such as Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga and space maven Chiranjiv Kathuria, who both wear turbans, reach prominent positions in public life. There are also groups of turbaned white Sikh converts in the US.
Still, there are occasional streaks of ignorance and bigotry among sections of the population, including police, who single out minorities, not just Sikhs for discrimination. In a separate reminder of the persistent racist undertones in multi-cultural US, the AfricanAmerican tennis player James Blake, once ranked #4 in the world, was tackled, brought down and handcuffed by undercover cops in NY when he was waiting for a car to take him to the US Open. He was mistaken for a man wanted in connection with a fraud case.
“I do think most cops are doing a great job keeping us safe but when you police with reckless abandon, you need to be held accountable,” Blake, who is bi-racial and a Harvard grad, later told ABC. In Alabana meanwhile, trial is underway of police office Eric Parker, accused of viciously assaulting Sureshbhai Patel, who was visiting his son to take care of his grandkids. six innocent Sikh victims in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.