New York, USA-UNITED SIKHS observes the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001. This day claimed 2,996 lives, left over 6,000 individuals injured, and forever changed the world we live in. For Sikhs, Muslims, Arabs, and other minority communities, the terror did not end on September 11th. 4 days after the attacks, another life was lost in the name of hate and ignorance-Sikh American Balbir Singh was shot outside of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona, his assailant telling witnesses he was going to go "kill some towelheads", shortly before the murder. This incident marked the beginning of an alarming increase in hate crimes against Sikh, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans, including vandalism on places of worship, assault, and murder. As a result, UNITED SIKHS and other civil rights organizations joined the effort to ensure hate crimes against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus are tracked by federal agencies such as the FBI, who announced earlier this year that they will begin doing so.
Although it has been 14 years since 9/11, the most recent of these hate crimes occurred only this week. 53 year old Inderjit Singh of Chicago, Illinois was driving when he was cut off by another driver who proceeded to get out of his car, approach Singh, and punch him repeatedly, referring to him as "Bin Laden", and telling him to go back to his country.
Inderjit Singh after the attack.
In August, another Sikh man was fatally assaulted near his home.Satwinder Singh was stabbed multiple times by unidentified attackers who did not take any of his possessions after the attack. After 14 years, hate crimes continue to impact the Sikh community.
On this day, the Sikh community remembers their fellow Americans who lost their lives 14 years ago, stands by all the individuals who are impacted by the bias created by 9/11, and remains in solidarity with all peace and justice loving organizations. It is up to us as individuals to stand up for our civil rights and refuse to live in fear. UNITED SIKHS continues to work towards combating ignorance and spreading awareness about the issues the Sikh community faces, through efforts such as the annual Sikh Summit, during which community members are given the opportunity to meet their Congressional representatives and discuss anti-Sikh violence and other issues. Click here to learn more about our effort. Through projects such as these, we strive to spread awareness of the post 9/11 backlash faced by the Sikh community, and work towards creating a safer, more tolerant world.
Our efforts to combat prejudice extend globally. If you are a victim of racial, ethnic, or religious-based violence, contact Lawfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA), UNITED SIKHS
P 646-688-3525, 888-243-1690