A Sikh man who was falsely accused of terrorism wants police to file criminal charges against the people who racially-profiled him based on his physical appearance.
Daljeet Singh, who sports a long beard and a turban in accordance with Sikhism, was a passenger in a Greyhound bus travelling from Amarillo, Texas, on Feb. 21, when he was accused of speaking Arabic and “talking about a bomb.”
Singh and another man he met on the bus discovered they both spoke the same dialect of Punjabi and entered into conversation in the language as neither of them was fluent in English. Shortly, afterwards, the bus stopped on the side of the road and two men restrained him while the authorities were called. When the police arrived, they frisked him, searched his belongings, forced him to remove his turban — which is mandatory for all Sikh men — and arrested him.
Later, Singh discovered he was detained for over 30 hours because two men on the bus thought he was “acting weird.”
"The only crime I committed was wearing a turban, having a beard, and speaking in a different language to another brown man on a bus," said Singh. "I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America."
The Sikh Coalition, which is representing Singh, has called on the Potter County Sheriff’s Office and the Potter County Attorney’s Office to file criminal charges against Tianna Lynn Decamp, the passenger who reported Singh, and claims she targeted him solely based on his racial and religious appearance rather than reasonable suspicion.
A few months ago, a similar case cropped up in Los Angeles, where a Sikh bus driver was assaulted while driving a bus full of people because a passenger though he was a suicide bomber. What’s more, the police refused to recognize the attack as a hate crime.
There have been quite a few cases where Sikhs have been arrested and even brutally beaten, simply on the assumption they were Muslims — who are, in turn, often, and wrongfully, stereotyped as being terrorists.