The Sikh Coalition in Illinois in the United States has started a campaign demanding the arrest of a man who allegedly pointed a gun at a Sikh Uber cab driver. The passenger had purportedly targeted Gurjeet Singh based on his religion and ethnicity, The Washington Post reported.
The Illinois Sheriff’s department has also initiated an inquiry into the incident, which occurred on January 29.
The group has asked supporters to make calls to the sheriff’s office to demand justice for Singh and join their social media campaign #JusticeforGurjeet. Singh is also a religious leader at a local Sikh temple. “I hate turban people. I hate beard people,” the coalition quoted the attacker as saying.
Rock Island county sheriff Gerry Bustos said he expects to charge the suspect with aggravated assault and other crimes once Uber submits the information his office had sought. The accused, the driver and another passenger present during the incident have been interviewed, Busto told The Washington Post.
“The argument was about where people’s loyalties lie and where they were from,” the sheriff said. A female passenger is believed to have forced the gun-wielding passenger out and apologised on his behalf.
There have been several incidents where Sikh men have been targeted in alleged hate crimes in the United States. The attacks have been compounded by confusion about the faith of Sikhs, who are often mistaken for Muslims, another group facing persecution in the US. Discrimination and assaults against Sikhs in the US have risen after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. In 2012, a gunman killed six worshippers at a gurdwara in Wisconsin.