Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Sikh Hate Crimes - Is America really civilized?

My heart goes out to the family and community! I think it is time to hold a peace march in front of Sacramento, Salem and Washington. May Waheguru bless the Sikhs!

Santa Clara Sikh stabbed in apparent hate crime
By Leslie Griffy and Sean Webby
Mercury News
Santa Clara County Jail
Everett Thompson
The day after the stabbing of a Santa Clara grandfather left South Bay Sikhs reeling, prosecutors are weighing hate crime and attempted murder charges against his neighbor, who apparently believed the man belonged to the Taliban.
Iqbal Singh, 40, was waiting in his carport with his 2-year-old granddaughter around 10:50 a.m. Sunday when the suspect approached him and stabbed him in the neck with a steak knife, Santa Clara police Sgt. Kurt Clarke said.
Singh was still in the hospital Monday with serious injuries. The girl was unhurt.
``It's terrifying,'' his brother-in-law, Gurmeet Singh, said. ``Here he is standing outside of his home, and he is attacked.''
That the stabbing might have been driven by hate doesn't surprise Gurmeet Singh.
``We Sikhs are the most targeted for hate crimes,'' he said. ``People see us, and they don't understand who we are. They associate us with terrorists.''
Santa Clara police arrested Everett Thompson, 20, of Santa Clara, later Sunday, Clarke said. He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and a hate crime, Clarke said.
Investigators are trying to determine why Thompson allegedly attacked Singh.
There are indications that Thompson, who may suffer from mental illness, believed Singh was a member of the Taliban, officials said Monday. Singh is not.
The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist movement based in Afghanistan. Sikhism is an unrelated religion and culture founded in the Indian state of Punjab.
``We send our prayers not just to Mr. Singh and his family, but to the entire Sikh community,'' said Jay Boyarsky, the supervising deputy district attorney who oversees hate-crime prosecutions in Santa Clara County.
Boyarsky, who praised the Santa Clara Police Department for its ongoing investigation, added: ``Sadly, this is not the first time that a person has wrongfully targeted a Sikh person on the basis of physical appearance.''
The prosecutor cited a case shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, in which two men assaulted a Sikh and set his ice cream truck on fire.
When Singh was attacked, he was waiting for the rest of the family to come down to the carport from their upstairs apartment on Agate Drive. They were on their way to worship services at San Jose Gurdwara Sahib, Gurmeet Singh said.
Iqbal Singh, he said, wears both a turban and a beard. Those are two symbols of Sikh culture that many don't understand, said Gursharan Singh, a Milpitas-based reporter for the magazine Punjab Today who is not related to the victim.
Different cultures use turbans to signify different things; for some it is a sign of religious learning, and for others it is part of cultural dress.
For Sikhs, Gursharan Singh said, the turban is not as much religious as it is cultural.
The religion, like others, promotes peace and understanding.
``We are simply trying to peacefully live, earn a living and practice our religion,'' Gurmeet Singh said. ``This hate is driven by ignorance.''



Blogger Sifar said...

This shows how ill educated and ignorant people in America are and we Sikhs are more busy leg pulling amongst ourselves rather than do something about it. If this could happen in California where Sikhs are still visible in numbers, what about those states where Sikhs are rarely seen and heard of.

For readers, here is the link to Brochure on Sikhism. Please print it and keep it handy and help spread the word.

Chardi Kala....

9:55 AM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Pritam Singh Khalsa said...

I was shocked to here this a couple days ago.

Love and prayers for Mr.SinghJi and his family

SatNam Siri Waheguru Jio

5:10 PM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Sifar said...

Another hot debate topic

Scholars for 9/11 Truth

Chardi Kala

6:58 AM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Although it is getting better but at a very slowl pace. I credit the media for running these stories, but I wish they would cover these not when things like this happen. I don't understand, why can't they dedicate a page in Sunday's paper to Sikh Americans and Sikhism. I guess, we just have to keep volunteering and bringing awareness thru whatever means we can like water bottles, T-shirts, Nagar Kirtans, books, media ads, actively donating our time by volunteering in our communities, hospitals, senior centers, youth sports etc. including wearing turbans and most importantly being true to our belief and following the path laid out for us by the Gurus to the best of our abilities. Thanks for the links Sarvjeet. Pritam I know what you mean by shock. I would not have thought of it happening in Santa Clara.

10:27 AM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

This is so sad My heartiest prayers for Mr. Iqbal Singh. Do you have any updates on him now? How is he doing?

It is obvious how horrific it is for him, his family, all Sikhs - but the most unforgiving scar that is left on the soul of that graddaughter who had to witness such hatred @ age 2 is just sad.


p.s.// Plz post if there is any update on his case. thanks!

8:59 AM, August 08, 2006  

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