By now, you’ve heard accounts of yesterday’s awful shooting in Wisconsin targeting Sikhs as they gathered in their Gurudwara for a community service. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that the alleged shooter was part of a known network of white supremacist organizations. I suspect we will know more about the shooters motivations by the end of the day.
The shooting is yet another incident in a long line of abuses suffered by the American Sikh community in recent years. CNN has a depressingly long list of beatings, stabbings, and shootings of Sikh men since September 11, 2001. Most of the time, the attackers assumed the men were Muslim because they wore a Turban.
— September 15, 2001: An aircraft mechanic named Frank Roque guns down Balbir Singh Sodhi outside a Mesa gas station. Roque drives up to the station, fires five times and flees. He goes on to shoot at a Lebanese-American gas station clerk and fire into the home of an Afghan-American family later that same day. He is serving a life sentence.
— December 2001: Two men beat store owner Surinder Singh 20 times with metal poles in Los Angeles, while they uttering, “We’ll kill bin Laden today.”
— March 2004: Vandals scrawl the words, “It’s not your country” in blue spray paint on the wall of the Gurdwara Sahib temple in Fresno, California. The temple is also vandalized a year earlier.
— July 2004: Rajinder Singh Khalsa is beaten unconscious by six men in New York City, after they taunt him and his friend about their turban. The beating leaves Khalsa with multiple fractures.
— August 2006: Iqbal Singh is stabbed in the neck with a steak knife in San Jose, California, while he was standing in the carport of his house. The attacker later tells police he wanted to “kill a Taliban.”
— October 2008: Ajit Singh Chima is punched and kicked in the head while out on his daily walk in Carteret, New Jersey. The attacker does not take anything from Chima.
— January 2009: Jasmir Singh is attacked outside a New York grocery store, with men shouting racial slurs. Two years later, his father is attacked.
— November 2010: In 2010, Harbhajan Singh, a Sikh cabdriver, is beaten by two passengers in Sacramento, California, with one of them calling him “Osama bin Laden.”
— March 2011: Gurmej Singh Atwal and Surinder Singh are gunned down in Elk Grove, California, while out on their afternoon walk. They are not robbed and had no enemies, family members say.
— February 2012: A Sikh temple under construction in Sterling Heights, Michigan, is defaced, with graffiti on the wall depicting a gun and a Christian cross. Someone also scrawls “Mohmed,” perhaps in reference to the Muslim prophet Mohammed.