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Friday, August 11, 2006

Details of Iqbal Singh Stabbing

A Santa Clara Sikh man was the victim of a July 30 stabbing that authorities allege was a hate crime.... Iqbal Singh, 66, was standing with his 2-year-old granddaughter in his family's carport in the 3400 block of Agate Drive, waiting to depart for a religious service at the San Jose Gurdwara, when he was stabbed once in the neck with a steak knife. Everett Thompson, the 25-year-old assailant, was a neighbor who said in police interviews that he stabbed Singh because he wanted to kill a Taliban.

"We didn't know [Thompson] before," Gurmeet Singh, Iqbal Singh's brother-in-law, told India-West. "He didn't speak. He just walked very close. Iqbal asked, 'What's the matter?' and as soon as he asked, [Thompson] stabbed him."

Iqbal Singh then ran toward his family's apartment building with Thompson in pursuit. At the same time, the rest of the Singh family, including Iqbal Singh's son and daughter-in-law, emerged from the apartment. Thompson fled the scene when he caught sight of them.

Thompson was arrested at his home shortly thereafter, where police also found the weapon he used, said Jay Boyarsky, who oversees hate-crime prosecutions for the Santa Clara County district attorney, in a San Francisco Chronicle report. Thompson was arraigned in a San Jose courtroom Aug. 2 on premeditated murder and hate crime charges, Deputy District Attorney Peter Waite told India-West. Thompson did not, at that time, enter a plea. "His attorney asked for a continuance, so he will be back Aug. 10," said Waite. "The point of that is to allow the attorney more time. He believes that there may be mental problems with his client and needs time to evaluate him."

Thompson is being held in custody without bail. If convicted of the attack, he could face a sentence of life in prison.

At press time, Iqbal Singh was in stable condition at a local hospital. His granddaughter was unhurt. "It's a big shock," Gurmeet Singh told India-West. "And, yes, it is a hate crime. But life has to go on. These are the incidents that can happen to anybody." When asked if he feels unsafe, Gurmeet Singh responded, "I don't feel that we're so afraid that we'd move from one place to another for this reason."....

"Incidents such as this have become all too common in the aftermath of 9/11," [Annie]Dandavati told India-West. Sikhs, whose traditional turbans are vaguely similar to those worn by the Muslim Taliban, are frequently the targets in these hate crimes. [Link]

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