On Sept. 25, Maan Singh Khalsa, an IT specialist, was driving home from work when five or six men in a Ford pick-up truck next to him threw a can of beer at him.
When Khalsa rolled down his window to ask them why they were bothering him, one of the men started walking towards him.
However, at that moment, the light turned green and Khalsa, frightened for his life, drove off. He also called 911.
When he stopped at the next red signal, the men, who were apparently following him, attacked him. They allegedly punched his face repeatedly and also cut off his long hair, which Sikh men keep for religious purposes.
Khalsa was on call with 911 throughout the attack.
In the letter written by Sikh Coalition, the civil rights’ organization urged Police Chief Allwyn Brown and Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson to file hate crime charges against the perpetrators.
Khalsa, who is of South Asian descent, was left with a swollen black eye, and several injuries following the attack.
“The attackers caused physical injuries and deep harm when they targeted my Sikh faith,” he said. He also pleaded for a thorough investigation of the matter.
Violent, racially-charged attacks on Sikh Americans in the United States have been on the rise since 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.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, John Gress