Two Elderly Sikh American Men Suffer Vicious Attack in Maryland
FBI asked to probe possible hate crime; Community urged to continue reporting similar incidents
Washington D.C. – September 20, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights organization, filed a formal complaint today with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about an alleged hate crime in Burtonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC.
The incident occurred when two Sikh American men were walking near their home during the afternoon of Saturday, September 15, 2007. During their walk they were approached by a group of six young men.
As the group approached, one of the young men struck the first victim with a blow to the side of his face, causing him to fall to the ground and partially lose consciousness. When the other victim attempted to call the police, another young man took his cell phone and began assaulting him. The attackers continued their assault on the victims after which they fled from the scene.
As no valuables were taken from the victims, there are indications the attack could have been racially and religiously motivated.
“Such attacks create an environment of fear for not only all Maryland residents, but for all minorities across the country,” said SALDEF Associate Director Rajbir S. Datta. “Unfortunately, the incident, which took place four days after the sixth anniversary of 9/11, has become an all too common experience for Sikh Americans.”
SALDEF has filed formal complaints with the FBI and Montgomery County Police Department encouraging them to investigate the attack as a possible hate crime.
If you believe you have been the target of bias, workplace discrimination, harassment, or a hate crime please contact SALDEF immediately via email, at 877-917-4547 and also report it online.
PLEASE distribute this to your family, friends and at the local Gurdwara.
Founded in 1996, SALDEF is the nations oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights organization. SALDEF protects and promotes the civil rights of Sikh Americans through legal aid, advocacy and educational outreach. SALDEF’s mission is to create a fostering environment in the United States for future generations of Sikh Americans. Sikhism is a distinct religious faith that is over five hundred years old. There are approximately half a million Sikhs living in the United States.