A top US lawmaker has termed the recent attack on a Sikh cab driver as “troubling” and called for joint efforts to end such hate crimes. “I was deeply troubled to learn of the recent attack on a member of the Sikh community in New York City. Reports indicate this could have been a hate crime, which makes this unacceptable attack all the more horrifying,” Congressman Joe Crowley, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said in a statement. “Our country is made stronger by the diversity of its people and their cultures, backgrounds, religions, faiths, and lifestyles,” he said. “There has been an increase in hate crimes across the country since that start of this year, and the recent attack underlines how critically we must work together to end these crimes,” Crowley said.
According to police, Harkirat Singh, a 25-year-old Sikh man and taxi driver, was attacked by his passengers during a trip from Madison Square Garden to the Bronx. The passengers reportedly called Singh “Ali Baba,” swore at him, refused to pay the cab fare, and attempted to break the cab meter and partition. The passenger then, while fleeing the police, ripped Singh’s turban from his head. The New York Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
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New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned the “reprehensible” attack. “As brothers and sisters facing increased racially and religiously motivated attacks, this reprehensible attack against Mr. Singh resonates strongly with our community,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “No New Yorker should ever face violence because of his or her faith,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “Any attack motivated by religious bigotry is an attack on all New Yorkers and the values we hold dear.”