In yet another suspected hate crime involving an Indian-American victim, an attacker shot and injured a Sikh man outside his home in Kent, Washington, before allegedly saying “get out of our country.”
"We're early on in our investigation and the shot resulted in non life-threatening injuries, however we are treating this as a very serious incident," Kent police chief Ken Thomas told reporters during a news conference.
The victim, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin, has been identified as 39-year-old Deep Rai by India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj.
I am sorry to know about the attack on Deep Rai a US national of Indian origin. I have spoken to Sardar Harpal Singh father of the victim./1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 5, 2017
He told me that his son had a bullet injury on his arm. He is out of danger and is recovering in a private hospital. /2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 5, 2017
Rai was reportedly working on his car in the driveway of his home when the attacker, described as a “6-foot-tall white man with a stocky build… wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face,” approached him and shot Rai in the arm.
The incident occurred on March 3. It has rattled the Indian-American community, which was still reeling from the shooting in Olathe, Kansas, in which a white man allegedly opened fire on two Indian immigrants, before yelling “get out of my country.” The shooting killed one man and injured two others.
Despite the ensuing outrage and concern from the affected Indian-American and Sikh-American communities, President Donald Trump, nearly three days into the Kent shooting, has not yet addressed the incident.
It’s odd considering, since March 3, the POTUS has had the time to spout baseless wiretapping accusations against the previous Obama administration and even tweet about “The New Celebrity Apprentice” host Arnold Schwarzenegger, who announced his departure from the reality show in an Empire interview published the day of the Kent shooting.
“Even if asked [to do it again], I would decline,” Schwarzenegger told Empire. “With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don't want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It's a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division."
Trump immediately tweeted his reply to Schwarzenegger’s statement:
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
However, the president — somehow — didn’t find the Kent shooting important enough to be publicly addressed.
Quite understandably, Trump’s lack of concern has exacerbated the prevailing fear of hate crimes among the affected communities.
"So far, the administration has done nothing in this regard," the group's interim director of programs, Rajdeep Singh Jolly, told Al Jazeera.
"These attacks are part of a broader pattern of hate and violence against immigrants and religious minorities. What's particularly chilling is that in both cases — the anti-Sikh attack near Seattle and the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla — both men were told to 'go back to their country.'
“Xenophobic political rhetoric is literally putting lives in danger,” Jolly added.
Violent, racially charged attacks on Sikh Americans in the United States have been on the rise since the 9/11 attacks.
Several surveys conducted over the past decades have found that a considerable number of Americans confuse Sikhism to be a sect of Islam but that’s not true because both are distinctly separate religions.