(NEW YORK, NY, 4/18/17) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the attack on a Sikh man in the Bronx as a suspected hate crime.
According to police, Harkirat Singh, a 25-year-old Sikh man and taxi driver, was attacked by his passengers during a trip from Madison Square Garden to the Bronx. The passengers reportedly called Singh “Ali Baba,” swore at him, refused to pay the cab fare, and attempted to break the cab meter and partition. The passenger then, while fleeing the police, ripped Singh's turban from his head. [NOTE: “Ali Baba” is a character from the Arab folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”] The NYPD is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
"As brothers and sisters facing increased racially and religiously motivated attacks, this reprehensible attack against Mr. Singh resonates strongly with our community," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. "CAIR-NY extends its empathy and support to Mr. Singh and the Sikh community."
“No New Yorker should ever face violence because of his or her faith,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “We are a city united by our diversity. Any attack motivated by religious bigotry is an attack on all New Yorkers and the values we hold dear.”
Recently, several anti-Sikh attacks received national attention. Earlier this year, in Kent Washington, a Sikh man while in his driveway was accosted by another man, told to “go back to his country”, and was shot in the arm. Local authorities are looking into the attack as a possible hate crime.
There has been an unprecedented spike in hate rhetoric and bias-motivated incidents targeting Sikhs, American Muslims and other minorities since the election of President Trump.
Earlier this month, the NYPD noted that there has been a 100 percent increase in hate crimes. CAIR-NY believes that even this figure is a gross underestimation due to under-reporting.
CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.
Individuals in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, 917-669-4006, firstname.lastname@example.org; Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273, email@example.com, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org