CHICAGO (Sept. 9, 2015) — The Chicago chapter of the Sikh Coalition reports that on Tuesday evening, Inderjit Singh Mukker, a Sikh American resident in the Darien suburb of Chicago, was viciously assaulted after the assailant pulled up to his car yelling racial slurs, including, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!”
Mr. Mukker, a U.S. citizen and father of two, was on his way to the grocery store on S. Cass Avenue when the verbal taunting was initiated. Mr. Mukker turned onto Cass Avenue, but was repeatedly cut off by the driver. Mukker pulled over to the side of the road to let him pass, but the driver instead pulled in front of his car and aggressively approached Mukker’s vehicle.
The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mukker in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, bleed profusely and suffer a fractured cheekbone and a laceration to his cheek, according to Sikh Coalition. He was rushed to the hospital, where he received six stitches, treatment for lacerations, bruising and swelling. The suspect is in custody.
Sikhs wear their articles of faith (including a turban and beard) to show their commitment to justice, equality and the rights of all. While Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years, the community has faced disproportionate discrimination and targeted hate crimes in the 14 years since 9/11. To learn more basics about the Sikh faith and community, click here.
“We believe Mr. Mukker was targeted and assaulted because of his Sikh religious appearance, race or national origin,” said the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur. “We request an immediate investigation and call on local and federal agencies to investigate this attack as a hate crime.”
This attack, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, is just the latest in a line of violent attacks on Sikhs in America. Last August, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh father in New York City, was run over and dragged 30 feet after being called a “terrorist.” In 2012, a gunman with Neo-Nazi ties walked into a Sikh house of worship (gurdwara) and shot and killed six innocent Sikh victims in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
“No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country,” said the victim, Mr. Mukker. “I’m thankful for the swift response of authorities to apprehend the individual, but without this being fully investigated as a hate crime, we risk ignoring the horrific pattern of intolerance, abuse and violence that Sikhs and other minority communities in this country continue to face.”
The Sikh Coalition has been representing hate crime victims throughout the United States for the past 14 years and is representing Mr. Mukker in this case. For all media inquires, please contact Media and Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith. Mark can put you in contact with our Legal team for interviews.
This assault comes on the eve of the anniversary of September 11th, since which Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities have been unjustly targeted as the victims of hate crimes, according to Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year.
“Advancing Justice – LA extends our deepest condolences to Mr. Mukker, as well as his family, and the communities impacted by this tragedy,” stated Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA). “Advancing Justice – LA expresses sadness and outrage at this assault in the Chicago area, and strongly condemns the targeting and attacks on Sikh and other Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. We support the law enforcement investigations into this assault as a racially-motivated hate crime.”
Advancing Justice – LA urges our communities to be particularly vigilant in the days surrounding the 9/11 anniversary. Any suspected hate crimes should be reported to law enforcement authorities. Advancing Justice – LA can also be contacted at 888-349-9695.