Kamaljit Atwal’s neighborhood seems like an unlikely place for a hate crime. His street in this Sacramento suburb seems a model of diversity.
Atwal and his family are one of two Sikh families on the block from India. On Atwal’s street alone, there’s a Vietnamese family, a Mexican family, a black woman and a white man.
But in March, Atwal’s 78-year-old father Gurmej Atwal and his 67-year-old friend Surinder Singh were shot and killed while taking an afternoon stroll in the neighborhood.
Atwal and his fellow Sikhs in the area wonder if the same ugliness that has brought violence to other Sikhs is the reason why. …
“When people look at me with a turban and beard, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘That guy looks like Osama bin Laden.’ “
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Sikhs have reported a rise in bias attacks, both verbal and physical, against them. The backlash that hit Muslims across the country has expanded to include them and their faith as well, with some assuming the sight of a long beard and turbaned head can only mean one thing. (More)