By now, readers of this blog are familiar with America’s rising epidemic of Islamophobic hate crimes, which target both Muslim Americans and those whom racists suspect of being Muslim. Because Sikh American men — typically of Indian descent — often wear visible articles of their faith including a turban and beard, they are part of this latter group vulnerable to Islamophobic violence.
Sadly, such attacks have only become more frequent in number. In September, Inderjit Singh Mukker was brutalized by a Chicago-area teenager who called him slurs during the assault; that attacker later plead guilty to hate crime charges. Several Sikh-owned properties have been vandalized in the last year, including an Orange County gurdwara which was spray-painted with the words “Fuck ISIS”. And, in Fresno, California, the first homicide victim of 2016 was Gurcharan Singh Gill, a 68-year-old Sikh American man found stabbed to death in an auto repair shop in a suspected hate crime.
Gill was the second Sikh American to be the victim of violence in Fresno, California in the last month.