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TRIBUNE EDIT-Victims of continuing hate Attacks against Sikhs in the US rise

August 20, 2018 06:47 AM

COURTESY Victims of continuing hate
Attacks against Sikhs in the US rise
The United States is failing to protect its Sikh citizens. The state of affairs is such that when Terlok Singh, a Sikh deli owner was found dead in his shop in New Jersey, the apprehension of this being yet another hate crime raised its head even as the local police began its investigation. Not that it was unfounded; there have been two physical attacks on Sikhs in California within a month. Surjit Malhi, 50, and Sahib Singh, 71, both turbaned Sikhs like Terlok Singh, 55, were the victims. Turbans make the Sikhs a highly visible minority in the US and the rise in the number of hate crimes has been documented by advocacy groups.
America’s changing perceptions towards immigrants are evident, more so since the candidacy and then the Presidency of Donald Trump. Liberal values are evermore under attack and voices of the fringe, which should have remained at the edge of public discourse, are getting validation from a government that does not condemn them, indeed, seems to encourage them. The United States of America is the land of immigrants, made stronger and more dynamic by an infusion of successive waves of immigrants, like the Sikhs, who now occupy a number of prominent positions in the government as well as in the private sector.
Rather than the politicians, it is the institutions that give hope. It was the police, helped in no small measure by the public, that traced Sahib Singh’s attackers. The boy’s father’s poignant statement was a strong message against hate, and of the vulnerability of families’ estrangement. The American society needs to reassure its visible minorities, and even as it is doing so, look deep within for the causes of hate that have festered enough to become eruptions of violence. As for the community, it should endeavour to return hate with empathy and love even as it mourns the loss of its members.

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