An increase in hate crimes during election season

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) has been keeping track of an increase in xenophobic violence and rhetoric against South Asians in the weeks and months leading up to the 2008 elections, including assaults targeting immigrants who either supported or were perceived to support President-Elect Obama. Here are a few examples of recent violence against South Asians and other communities of color:

  • Hardwick, New Jersey — On November 6, 2008, an incident occurred in which Alina and Gary Grewal found a cross burned on their front lawn. The cross was wrapped in a congratulatory banner the family had made which read “President Obama, Victory ’08”.
  • Carteret, New Jersey — On October 30, 2008, an incident occurred in which an elderly Sikh gentleman, Ajit Singh Chima, was punched and kicked repeatedly in the face, suffering fractures in his jaw and near his eyes. This occurred soon after a 10-year-old Sikh boy, Gagandeep Singh, was attacked on October 8, 2008, by an individual who pushed him to the ground and forcibly cut his hair.
  • Staten Island, New York — In early November, an incident occurred in which four white men beat a Liberian-American Muslim teenager, Ali Kamara, near his home. The attackers jumped out of a car and assaulted him with a baseball bat after shouting “Obama.”
  • Providence, Rhode Island — In September 2008, an incident occurred in which a Sikh-American man was accosted by an individual who said, “I have a gun in my car and since you are a hajii no one will care if I kill you. You know why the police won’t do anything? Because I got blond hair and blue eyes.” As the assailant left, he screamed, “F*** Arabs and F*** Obama.”

In light of these incidents, SAALT is re-circulating a basic factsheet on hate crimes with answers to frequently asked questions and resources for those in need. To learn more about the work SAALT is doing, and its services and resources for hate crime victims, visit the SAALT website here.

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