Sikh man attacked in ‘despicable hate crime’ in California says ‘turban saved’ him – Report


A Sikh man who was recently attacked while putting up political campaign signs in California said his turban “saved him” from further injury.

Surjit Singh Malhi, who has been living in Stanislaus County, California for decades, said two assailants told him “go back to your country” as they attacked him near the intersection of two roads, reports The Independent.

Malhi was putting out signs for Jeff Denham, a Republican congressman running for re-election, when he said the assailants approached him and threw sand in his eyes before physically attacking him. He noted the attackers were male and wearing black sweatshirts.

“My turban saved me, maybe if I don’t have a turban… the way they were hitting me… maybe I would die,” he told NBC.

Law enforcement officials are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Mr Malhi’s truck had been spray painted with a white nationalist symbol and “go back to your country” written on it, according to the report.

“It’s a despicable hate crime,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson to the New York Times. “There is no room for this in Stanislaus County or anywhere else in the United States of America.”

A woman named Casey Joyce Musgrave, who explained that Mr Malhi is the father of her best friend, shared a photo of his truck with the obscenities spray painted on it in a post published to Facebook.

“Just so everyone knows, violent acts of racism are happening in your area,” Ms Musgrave wrote.

Mr Malhi told NBC that he has a supportive community of friends in Stanislaus County. A group of people from a CrossFit gym he belongs to rallied together to Mr Malhi’s home to show their support and to help clean the spray paint off his truck.

Below is a statement from the American Sikh Council on the incident:

PRESS RELEASE | August 7, 2018 |

The American Sikh Council (ASC) is alarmed at the continued spate of violence perpetrated against Americans of the Sikh Faith.  On the evening of July 31, 2018 Surjit Singh (Malhi) a 50 year old local community activist had just finished putting up campaign signs in support of Republican Representative Jeff Denham, outside Keyes, California, when he found two young men waiting for him as he returned to his truck.

According to news reports; “As soon as I saw them they threw sand in my eyes,” Malhi said. The 50-year-old stated that the two men beat him over the head, across the shoulders and neck, while shouting “Go back to your own country!”

He is recovering after he was viciously beaten in an attack by two white men who yelled racial insults and told him, “go back to your own country.” The criminals also vandalized his truck, spray-painting it with the same hateful words, with a Celtic cross.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson told the local newspapers that the sheriff’s office is investigating the assault as a hate crime.

Sheriff Christianson stated, “This is a random despicable criminal act against a member of the Sikh community.”

It is heartening to see that the police authorities are taking this incident very seriously and calling it exactly what it is, ‘ a hate crime’!

Furthermore the immediate local community and neighbors have responded very graciously and joined Surjit Singh (Malhi) and his family at their home in solidarity and claim him as one of their own. The members of local community even cleaned up the spray painted obnoxious graffiti off his pickup truck.

A few days after the above incident, a 71 year Sikh American man was kicked to the ground repeatedly while taking a walk around a Manteca park.

The Manteca incident, captured on video, occurred around 6 a.m. on Monday August 6, 2018. The video show the victim was at Graystone Park when two male adults confronted him on the sidewalk along Turquoise Way. The video, released by the Manteca Police Department, shows the man walking onto the street to go around the men, but they follow him.

According to news reports, one of the men kicked the victim several times and spat on him. When the victim fell to the ground, his turban fell off and he struck his head. He got back up to defend himself, only to be kicked down again. His attackers left on foot, but one returned and kicked him several times as he lay on the ground.

According to the Modesto Bee, “As the suspects left the scene, it is believed that one may have waved a firearm in the air,” the news release said. “The elderly man was medically treated and released from a local hospital.”

The incident is being investigated as an attempted robbery, Manteca police said. “Based upon the information we have received at this time, there are no indications that this assault was a hate crime.”

The vast majority of ordinary Sikh American citizens are constantly targeted for their distinguished religious attire by some deranged members of the public, starting from elementary schools, to workplaces and in all public spaces.

Since 9/11, Sikh Americans have spent tens of millions of dollars in trying to educate the general public about the unique ‘Sikh turban’ and its relevance to all practicing Sikhs. Information about anyone or anything is just a click away on the ubiquitous cell phone and other internet gadgets. Therefore, not all hate crimes are being committed due to ignorance but with full knowledge.

According to CNN, racial/ethnic/religious bias does not only happen because of unfamiliarity but in many cases due to the following four reasons: thrill-seeking, defensive, retaliatory and mission-offenders.

It is for these and other reasons that six million Jews were exterminated by the German regime during World War II and later hundreds of thousands of Sikhs were ethnically cleansed by the Indian regime in Punjab and elsewhere from 1984 – 1998.



Sikh American shot in a possible hate crime in Cincinnati​ (Asia Samachar, 29 May 2018)


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