| Chicago, US | 10 Sept 2015 | Asia Samachar |
A Sikh American resident in the Darien suburb of Chicago, US, was viciously assaulted on Tuesday after the assailant pulled up to his car yelling racial slurs, including, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!”
Inderjit Singh 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, according to a media release from The Sikh Coalition.
The statement dated Sept 9 narrates the Sept 8 incident in detail.
Inderjit turned onto Cass Avenue, but was repeatedly cut off by the driver. He 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 his vehicle.
The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Inderjit 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.
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, the statement added.
This incident is coming just days before anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 – commonly referred to as 9/11 – incident where a series of four coordinated attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on US landmarks, including the World Trade Centre in New York.
“We believe Mr. Mukker was targeted and assaulted because of his Sikh religious appearance, race or national origin,” said the Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur said in the same statement. “We request an immediate investigation and call on local and federal agencies to investigate this attack as a hate crime.”
Sikhs wear their articles of faith (including a turban and beard) to show their commitment to justice, equality and the rights of all.
The 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, the statement added.
“No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country,” said Inderjit. “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, the statement added.
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