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Monday, December 24, 2007

Sikhs bring comfort to injured cabdriver

It didn't take long for word to spread through the Sikh community when cabdriver Sukhvir Singh was beaten by a drunken passenger who called him an "Iraqi terrorist" and threatened to kill him.

In the days after the Nov. 24 attack, the area's tight-knit Sikh community worked quickly to help Singh, a Kent resident who moved here from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with his family in 1999.

A national advocacy group, the Sikh Coalition found him an attorney within days. Friends and community members asked if they could help Singh with money. A SeaTac-based Indian radio station shared his story live on the air. Around 400 people attended a candlelight vigil in Singh's honor.

Those closest to the Sikh community say they're not surprised by the swift response to Singh's attack....

Singh says he is grateful for the supporters who have comforted him in the days since he was attacked, but he is eager to return to work.

His doctors have advised him to stay home for much of December. Now he is worried about money.

"Before this, I thought America was a beautiful country, somewhere where people are treated equally," Singh said.

But the 49-year-old husband and father of two says he is not deterred.

"The sympathy has helped," Singh said. "My faith is in the justice system."

The King County Prosecutor's Office has charged Luis Vázquez, the 20-year-old construction worker from Kent who police say attacked Singh, with third-degree assault and one count of malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law. [Link]

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