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Sikh Man Attacked in Hate Crime: ‘My Turban Really Saved Me’

A Sikh man who was recently ambushed, beaten up and told to return to his country said he believed that the very thing that may have prompted the assault also protected him from further harm.“My turban really saved me,” Surjit Malhi of Turlock, Calif., said in an interview on Monday.Mr. Malhi, 50, was putting up political campaign signs near his home, about 60 miles east of San Jose, on July 31 when, he said, two men came up behind him and accosted him. They threw sand in his eyes so he couldn’t see, he said, and struck his head and back with what appeared to be a stick and a belt.
Yesterday in Manteca, California, Sahib Singh was the victim of an attack while taking his morning walk. The 71-year-old Punjabi immigrant was assaulted causing him to hit the cement street and his turban to be violently ripped off. This sad act of cruelty is just the latest example of violence, bullying and abuse against Sikh Americans. Recently in Turlock, California, Surjit Singh Malhi was also brutally assaulted while putting up campaign yard signs in his local community.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, co-founder of National Sikh Campaign (NSC) stated, “We are disturbed and appalled by the recent attacks on Sikh Americans. The fact that Sahib Singh was assaulted and had his turban ripped off his head should be a peaceful call to action for our community and the many supporters of our campaign — Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike — to take a more active role in combating hate . This situation serves as a painful reminder that there is still much work to be done in bringing Americans of all faiths, colors, and communities together.”
“Our nation is going through an incredible time of polarization and hateful rhetoric has been increasingly inserted into public discourse. The Sikh community can be an easy target for people who are either enraged or misguided. We hope that civic sense prevails in this nation and we continue to make this nation stronger and more harmonious.”
Gurwin Singh Ahuja, Executive Director of NSC, said, “We wear our turbans to stand up against inequality, injustice and the poor treatment of the oppressed. We launched National Sikh Campaign & We Are Sikhs last year so that more Americans could hear about their Sikhs neighbors, what we stand for and the contributions we make to our communities.

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