Sikhs attacked in USA
Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution on Hate Crimes Against Sikh-Americans
In a CONCURRENT RESOLUTION (S. Con. Res 74) 107th Congress, 1st Session, Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh-Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001.
- Whereas all Americans are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the terrorists who planned and carried out the attacks against the United State on September 11, 2001, and in pursuing all those responsible for those attacks and their sponsors until they are brought to justice.
- Whereas Sikh-Americans form a vibrant, peaceful, and law abiding part of America's people;
- Whereas approximately 500,000 Sikhs reside in the United States and are a vital part of the nation; *Whereas Sikh-Americans stand resolutely in support of the commitment of our Government to bring the terrorists and those that harbor them to justice.
- Whereas the Sikh faith is a distinct religion with a distinct religious and ethnic identity that has its own place of worship and a distinct holy text and religious tenets;
- Whereas many Sikh-Americans, who are easily recognizable by their turbans and beards, which are required articles of their faith, have suffered both verbal and physical assaults of misguided anger towards Arab-Aermicans and Muslim-Americans in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. *Whereas Sikh-American, as do all Americans, condemn acts of hate and prejudice against any American, and
- Whereas Congress is seriously concerned by the number of hate crimes against Sikh-Americans and other Americans all across the Nation that have been reported in the wake of the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress - (1) declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected; (2) condemns bigotry and any action violence or discrimination against any Americans, including Sikh-Americans; (3) calls upon local and Federal law enforcement authorities to work to prevent hate crimes against all Americans, including Sikh-Americans; and (4) calls upon local and Federal law enforcement authorities to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all those who commit hate crimes.
The Attack on various "American targets", apparently by Afghan extremists, (Wich turned out to be an attack planned and executed by Al Queada) caused tens of thousands of innocent people from the world over to die in this brutal way. No doubt many Sikhs died for their Nation alongside their brothers and sisters from all castes, creeds, denominations in the attacks that even included many Muslims.
- May God bless All those who died under these circumstances.
Could vengeful attacks of ignorance overshadow the trajedy of 9/11?
But, one can't help but wonder as to what is the greater tragedy; The attack on the USA costing billions of dollars with thousands losing their lives, or the aftermath, in which a combination of vengeful anger & ignorance could well lead to an even greater loss of life in war & abuse. No offence is meant, but it has been apparent from the early stages after the USA attacks that the Media; including well known Media giants such as the BBC, Daily Mail & the Metro have begun concocting stories to sell their papers of how Sikhs may or may not have been involved. This is pure conjecture without a single shread of proof, no proof has ever, or will ever be provided to support their claims, but they know that they can get away with it.
Sikh arrested two days after the attack
PROVIDENCE, September 13 - A Virginia man is out of jail after police arrested him for carrying a knife aboard an Amtrak train.
Police released 28-year-old Sher Singh on his own recognizance. Police stopped the Amtrak train this afternoon in Providence after officials in Boston said at least four suspicious men were on board and that they may have a connection to the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
Sher Singh and three others were questioned. Police determined there was no connection with the attacks. But Singh -- who has a long beard and was wearing a turban -- was arrested because he had a knife with him.
Sher Singh says his religion gave him strength throughout the ordeal and that he was not afraid -- even when police drew their weapons and escorted him off the train. Police kept Singh's knife and charged him with a misdemeanor weapons violation. His attorney said, "the case is one of probable cause and Singh's constitutional right to express his religion." Expressing the belief that any charges would be dropped.
He is a member of the Sikh (seek = as pronounced by many Americans who don't care or are unaware of the Punjabi pronounciation) religion. The knife, known as a kirpan is a revered item held sacred by the Sikhs, which is one of the 5 K's. It is, for the Sikh, not just a weapon, but a symbol representing the willingness of each and every Sikh to lay down his/her life in the defense of the helpless or of anyone who is being attacked - regardless of their religion. It is a symbol ordained by their last living human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
A graphic which was prepared, at the time to point out to ignorant Americans that they were guilty of the same 'crimes of hate' that had brought down the twin towers.
Attacks on Sikhs reported
SAN JOSE, California: A day after suspected terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, reports have started to come in on attacks against the Sikh community in the United States.
In Asbury, New Jersey, Ramandeep Singh, a Sikh who wears a turban for religious reasons, said he had garbage and stones thrown at his car and stayed home from work.
News reports said that there were also three other cases of mistaken identities when Sikhs were roughed up by Americans who thought they were Arabs. Two such attacks were reported from the Richmond Hill area in Queens. Another Sikh was reportedly beaten up with a baseball bat by a group of irate Americans. There were also reports of a Gurudwara being attacked.
Besides the Sikhs, Arab-American and Muslim leaders reported sporadic vandalism and assaults against their communities. In Texas, the windows of a mosque were shattered and a man was arrested in New York for an alleged anti-Arab threat. Meanwhile, in Washington state a prison fight broke out over Muslim slurs.
In Suffolk County, New York, authorities arrested a man who allegedly made an anti-Arab threat and pointed a handgun at a gas station employee.
In Texas, at least six bullets shattered windows at the Islamic Center of Irving. A window at the Islamic Center of Carrollton also was broken by a slingshot-type device, police said.
Authorities there and in several other jurisdictions said they were unsure whether the threats were related to the terrorist attacks. Hopefully they learned better.
In a Washington state prison, a fight broke out during television reports of the attacks. A sheriff's spokesman said that one inmate loudly criticised Muslims and then a Muslim inmate threw him to the floor, causing cranial hemorrhaging.
At the Kuwait Embassy in Washington, Tamara Alfson spent much of Wednesday counseling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the United States. Alfson said one student was told, "You should all die". Another was moved to avoid a harassing bus ride to class.
Hate messages and insults were left on the answering machine of the Manassas Mosque in Virginia, said, its director, Abu Nahidian.
American Airlines chief executive Don Carty echoed community leaders in urging Americans not to scapegoat entire ethnic and religious communities because of "our collective grief, anger and shock."
In a recorded hotline message to airline workers, he said: "We simply cannot do that. Muslims and Arabs are our co-workers and our customers - and they grieve over this tragedy as well."
Arab-American, Muslim and Sikh leaders reported sporadic vandalism and assaults against their communities in the United States.
Reacting to the incidents of vandalism, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said: "I'm urging people not to play into the hands of the terrorists, not to act like them."
The prime suspect for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, authorities said, was Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi fugitive who authorities have blamed for several past terrorist attacks. ( TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES ) from indiatimes
BY JESSIE MANGALIMAN, T.T. NHU AND YOMI S. WRONGE Mercury News The Bay Area is a continent away from Lower Manhattan, yet ripples of the terrorist attack on East Coast cities continued Wednesday to reverberate in the lives of Muslims, Afghans, Palestinians and Sikhs who live here.
A day after the attacks in New York City and Washington, evidence of a backlash grew, with incidents of violence and harassment reported across the region and the country.
- In New York City, police arrested and charged with assault three young men in the beating of a
57-year-old Sikh man with a baseball bat and the shooting of paint balls at members of a Queens gurdwara, a Sikh temple.
- In Irving, Texas, vandals shot out the windows of an empty mosque.
- On Wednesday night, about 300 people -- some carrying American
flags -- were stopped by police after gathering in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview and trying to march to a mosque, the Associated Press reported.
- And in Seattle, vandals painted over a sign in front of a mosque, `They might hurt us'
- Someone left a plastic bag full of red liquid -- labeled ``pig's blood -- outside an Islamic community center in San Francisco.
- Rocks and bottles were thrown at an Afghan restaurant in Fremont.
- At a private school in Palo Alto, someone scrawled graffiti saying, ``Palestinians Go Home.
As the tally of incidents grew, so did the anxiety of Muslims around the Bay Area.
Yasir Hashmi of Fremont summed up what many felt the day after the tragedy.
``I'm scared, he said Wednesday, his 13th birthday. ``I think they might hurt us.
Sharing those fears, school officials closed Yasir's Islamic school in Fremont. He and his classmates will study at home for the rest of the week.
The bag of red liquid left outside a community center in San Francisco's Mission district came with an anonymous telephone message.
``There's a package for your brother bin Laden in front, the voice said, apparently referring to terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden.
Red liquid had also been splattered in the doorway, said Lt. Morris Tabak of the San Francisco police.
In Mountain View on Wednesday morning, an unidentified man held up a sign for passing motorists: ``Deport all Arabs. They are the enemy. The man left when police arrived.
Some taunts and violence were directed at Afghans, apparently because bin Laden has reportedly taken refuge in Afghanistan.
In Fremont, vandals threw rocks and bottles outside Pamir Food Mart, one of several Afghan stores on Fremont Boulevard in the Centerville district, home to about 25 Afghan businesses.
The fist-sized rock scared customers as it caromed off the storefront window. The bottle shattered on the street without injuring anyone.
Owner Homayoun Khamosh tried to shrug it off.
``Nothing happened. A rock was thrown, but I'm still here, he said.
Anti-Muslim sentiment was even directed at people who aren't Muslims.
``People see suspected terrorists on TV wearing turbans, and they associate Sikhs with them, said Balvinder Singh, a programmer from San Jose.
Sikhs, as Singh pointed out, are of a different faith than Muslims.
Mujda Zia, a 21-year-old cashier in Fremont, was equally puzzled that taunts are being directed at Afghans.
She pointed out that many Afghans in America had fled their homeland because they are vehemently opposed to the repressive Taliban regime that has given sanctuary to bin Laden.
Zia said her co-workers teased and taunted her all day Tuesday.
``They kept saying, `She's Afghan. She's Afghan.' Like she's one of the terrorists, Zia said. ``What did I do? I ran away from that country, from those people, and this is not my fault.
Zia complained to the store manager, who then reprimanded the workers.
In the U.K. the backlash against Sikhs has been just as strong, the BBC & Daily Mail both mis-informing about Sikhs and Sikh Organisations such as ISYF.
Sikh Americans Objects of Mistaken Assaults in Wake of Terrorist Attacks
Washington - Sikh Council on Religion and Education and various Sikh organizations are concerned that Sikhs in various regions of the country have already been attacked by ignorant or misguided individuals in the aftermath of the heinous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Two young Sikhs were attacked with paintball guns and one elderly Sikh with a baseball bat in the New York area. Yet another was attacked in Los Angeles while jogging. These confirmed attacks were the result of mistaken assumptions that Sikhs were either Arabs or from the Middle East.
It is important that the media correct these false impressions, lest all who appear different or who wear turbans and beards, be subject to assault. In the past, especially during the Iran hostage crisis, Sikhs have become the target of such harassment and violence.
We Sikhs pray for all affected families, emergency service personnel, Government officials and also for President Bush in this time of deep crisis. We deplore the dastardly attacks perpetrated against the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, the American people and the entire nation. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
We ask all Americans to exercise the tolerance and understanding for which they are justifiably adored around the world. We express our full support for all efforts to bring the perpetrators of this awful onslaught to justice.
Sikhs become targets of ire in New York
Tanmaya Kumar Nanda in New York
Following Tuesday's terrorist strikes on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, Sikhs in New York have come under suspicion and attack, for no fault of theirs.
On Tuesday night, the Richmond Hill gurdwara [a Sikh place of worship] was attacked when miscreants in a car who drove by firing what were believed to be rubber bullets at the building.
Ranvir Singh, who was at the gurdwara when the incident took place, told rediff.com that the attackers failed to inflict any damage. The police precinct, confirming the incident, said the miscreants had only thrown rubber balls at the gurdwara.
In a more gruesome incident, however, an elderly Sikh gentleman was attacked with baseball bats and seriously injured as he walked down the street.
Both incidents have left the Sikh community shaken.
According to a member of the Richmond Hill gurdwara management, who did not identify himself, instructions have been sent out to the Sikh community to stay indoors as much as possible and not take any 'unnecessary risks'.
"There is not much we can do except take whatever precautions we can," he said.
The reason for the incidents is believed to be misunderstanding about the appearance of Sikh men. To the lay American, the Sikh with his turban and flowing beard looks very much like Saudi millionaire turned terrorist Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of being behind the attacks on the US and whose images are being telecast regularly on all the news channels.
Confirming the attack on the gurdwara, India's Consul General in New York Shashi Tripathi told rediff.com that one of the miscreants had been arrested when the group went back on Wednesday morning for another attack.
She said she had spoken to the diplomatic police, the New York police department, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to sensitise them to the Indian community's vulnerability.
"If any Indian(s) feel insecure in their neighbourhoods or if they face any threats, they can alert their nearest police precinct immediately," she said. "But there are a lot of rumours floating, and the Indian community should guard against that."
Tripathi said the consulate was contemplating issuing instructions to the Indian community. "Ideally, they should stay home for a couple of days, or if they have to go out, carry some ID with them," she said. "We are also considering asking Indian women to wear a bindi as a distinguishing mark. Right now, everybody should be careful."
Tanmaya Kumar Nanda in New York Rediff.com
Attacks on Innocent Americans in Wake of Tragedy
New York, N.Y., September 12, 2001: Sikh organizations across North America unequivocally condemn the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We stand behind the US government, and trust that law enforcement authorities will be expedient in capturing the perpetrators of these heinous assaults.
The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sikh community, which numbers over 500,000 in America, are with the victims of these attacks and their families.
As the media has begun speculating on the identity of the assailants, an unintended consequence has been that innocent people with turbans and beards have received threats and have been assaulted.
Following the tragedy of Pearl Harbor over fifty years ago, Americans of Japanese background found themselves the target of virulent discrimination and violent attacks. History seems to be repeating itself, as innocent Americans are being attacked following yesterday's horrific attacks on the United States.
There are already multiple confirmed assaults on innocent Sikhs in the Metro New York area and across the country. Sikh businesses have been stoned and cars destroyed by ignorant and racist persons. It should be noted that many Sikhs are also missing in the World Trade Center disaster.
It is imperative that the media and police officials intervene. Muslims, Sikhs and Jews, as well as anyone else who may have beards or turbans are in physical and emotional danger from ignorant and violent people.
We implore the media to take the initiative to discourage citizens from targeting anyone merely because of their appearance or background. In any case, it is important to note that Sikhs are neither Muslims nor Hindus.
We ask for prayer in this time of crisis and urge the media to show responsibility in its reporting and ask that we not propagate hatred towards anyone who wears a turban.
Sikhs fear a violent backlash VIGILANTES TARGET TURBAN WEARERS, CONFUSING THEIR FAITH WITH ISLAM BY MATTHAI CHAKKO KURUVILA Mercury News
For Sikh men, turbans are a proud emblem of their faith, a testament to their devotion. But this week, their turbans have made them a target.
In the aftermath of Tuesday's terrorist attacks, some Americans have been lashing out at Muslims -- equating them with terrorists even though their faith promotes peace. And just as these vengeance-seekers have falsely equated Muslims with terrorists, they have confused Sikhs with Muslims.
Sikhs, who have a thriving community in the Bay Area, have become the most prominent non-Muslim victims of the violent backlash unleashed after Tuesday's attacks.
The two faiths are different. But devout Sikhs, like some Arabs, wear turbans. And that has made them marked men.
Bay Area Sikhs say they have been verbally harassed and have heard of violent attacks elsewhere. As the number of reports grows, so does their fear.
``People are just too scared to go out, said Baljinder Kaur of Fremont, who was afraid to send her son to kindergarten.
Some men have chosen not to go to work. Children have urged their fathers not to go out at all. And some families are debating whether Sikh men should consider the once-unthinkable: cutting their hair.
For Sikh men, never cutting their hair is a central tenet of the faith. So is protecting their hair with a turban.
When reports of anti-Sikh violence first emerged Tuesday, Kaur wanted to cut her 6-year-old son's hair and let him take off the scarf that covers it. She was afraid to send him to Niles Elementary School, but he insisted.
``I know they are young, but you never know, said Kaur, 30, who feared other kindergartners, influenced by the views of their parents, might harass him.
None of her children -- including daughters who are 12 and 9 -- has been harassed at school so far.
``I just told them, be careful, Kaur said.
This isn't the first time Sikhs have found themselves the victims of anti-Muslim violence. In past decades, they have become targets in the aftermath of various international crises, such as the Iran hostage crisis and the Persian Gulf War.
But this backlash, they say, has been especially ferocious.
Thursday night, a Sikh taxi driver in Seattle was called a ``butcher and a ``terrorist by two men, who then proceeded to punch him and pull out tufts of his beard.
In suburban Cleveland, a Sikh priest living at the Guru Gobind Sikh temple awoke early Wednesday to the sound of a Molotov cocktail crashing through a temple window.
In New York, three men attacked a Sikh man and called him a ``terrorist.
``Whenever there is a crisis, people who look different tend to be a target, said Gurinder S. Mann, a professor of Sikh studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara.
When Surat Singh Dhillon moved to Union City in 1985, teenagers would ask him, ``Are you Khomeini?
``Now it is bin Laden, said Dhillon, 75, who said he spends a lot of time clearing up people's misconceptions about his faith.
Mann said he believes that the spate of attacks emphasizes the need for increased cultural awareness.
``The Muslim community is not to be held responsible for this very, very unfortunate event, he said. ``We need to know about the religious diversity in the United States. There are Sikhs, and there are Muslims. We need to know about them, not just at these critical moments.
Mercury News wire services contributed to this report. Contact Matthai Chakko Kuruvila at [email protected] or (510) 790-7316.
Sikh afraid of anti-Muslim bigotry
Gas station owner alerts customers, 'I am not Muslim'
By David Horst
Post-Crescent city editor
HORTONVILLE - It was an act of concern, not of discrimination that led Jagjit Singh to post a sign on the door of his gas station identifying himself as a native of India and not a Muslim.
"A lady told me to be careful because you are a Muslim," said Singh, a Sikh from the Indian state of Punjab.
He explained to her that, even though he at times wears a turban, it is a sign of his Sikh religion, and he wraps it in a slightly different way from those worn by Muslims.
Singh decided that if this well-meaning woman could make the mistake, others might, too. Since Tuesday's terrorist attack, about a dozen customers have asked him if he is from Iraq.
Friday he posted the sign at his Amoco station on U.S. 45 and Nash Street stating: "I am Indian. I am Sikh. I am not Muslim."
Singh did have one unpleasant encounter Friday. He said an elderly man who saw the sign told him, in vulgar language, he didn't care what country Singh was from, that he didn't belong here because he is not a citizen.
"In two and a half years, not a single person has used such language with me," he said.
Singh moved to Hortonville from New York at the invitation of a nephew who owns a gas station in nearby New London. He bought the Hortonville Amoco in June 1999 and runs it with his wife and son.
Business has been slow in the last couple of days, though he is uncertain whether that's just because everyone filled up in Tuesday's rush to the pumps or if a misunderstanding over his heritage is at work.
"I feel comfortable here. The people are so nice," he said of life in Hortonville.
That includes one customer who brought over a plate of cookies Friday and left with a note that said, "It saddened me to know that you felt like you had to defend your culture and heritage. I just wanted you to know that our thoughts are with you and you are a vital part of our community."
Singh is no stranger to religious division and terrorist acts. He said he came to the United States in 1993 seeking political asylum after working as a lawyer in India defending members of the Sikh minority against what he described as false accusations by the Hindu majority government.
He was granted asylum in 1998.
Singh has embarked on a small education campaign, distributing posters around the community explaining what the Sikh religion is and that members of the Sikh community "strongly condemn the terrorist attack."
Just because they wear turbans, he wrote, does not mean they are connected with Osama bin Laden, the Saudi terrorist leader U.S. officials believe is tied to Tuesday's attacks.