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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Updates: Stabbing of Iqbal Singh

* [E]xpected to be arraigned today, in San Jose, is 20-year-old Everett Thompson, who allegedly stabbed his neighbor with a steak knife in Santa Clara on Sunday because he wrongly believed the Sikh grandfather belonged to the Taliban.
* Everett Thompson, 25, could face life in prison if convicted in the attack, prosecutor Jay Boyarsky said. He said formal charges will be filed today, and prosecutors will ask that Thompson be held without bail.

Iqbal Singh, 40, was standing with his 2-year-old granddaughter in his family's carport on Sunday preparing to leave for religious services when Thompson approached and stabbed him once in the neck with a steak knife, Boyarsky said.

Singh did not know Thompson, who said nothing during the attack ....

Singh was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover, police Sgt. Kurt Clarke said. The granddaughter was not injured.

Thompson was arrested at his home a short distance away, where police also found the knife they suspect was used, said Boyarsky, who oversees hate-crime prosecutions for the Santa Clara County district attorney.

"There are indications in the police report that Mr. Thompson wanted to seek revenge for Sept. 11 and attack a member of the Taliban," Boyarsky said.

"Investigators believe that it was hate-crime motivated," Clarke said. "Mr. Singh was wearing a turban, and Mr. Thompson interpreted that Mr. Singh was a member of the Taliban, which is obviously not true."

The Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic movement in Afghanistan that is fighting a guerrilla war there after a U.S. invasion ousted it from power in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The regime required men to wear beards and head coverings.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded in northern India. The religion proscribes that Sikhs never cut their hair, and men often wear turbans. There are about 40,000 Sikhs in the Bay Area, according to area Sikh leaders, and many have been harassed by people who mistake them for Muslims and link them to terrorism.

"It's sadly not unknown for Sikh individuals to be targeted as victims of hate crimes by people who perceive them as a quote-unquote terrorist or a quote-unquote Muslim extremist," Boyarsky said. "This crime seems to fit that horrible pattern."
* [T]he victim in the Santa Clara stabbing, Iqbal Singh, remains in the hospital; a gash on his neck is slowly healing.

Reports of the crime shocked the suspect's close-knit family. Thompson's cousin Gary Lopez described a large multicultural family, that includes a Sikh great-uncle in Los Angeles.

``This is not something a sane person would do,'' Lopez said. ``This isn't something that the Everett I know would do.''

But Thompson began to change two years ago, Lopez said. He was arrested for crouching on his hands and knees in the middle of a South Bay street and barking like a dog, Lopez said. The family intervened and Thompson began taking medication.
* Singh remains hospitalized in fair condition at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said today. He is expected to recover from his injuries, Clarke said.
Tags: Sikh, stabbing, hate crime, Iqbal Singh, Santa Clara.

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