D I S C R I M I N A T I O N    &    N A T I O N A L    S E C U R I T Y    I N I T I A T I V E    --    B L O G
  DNSI Home - http://pluralism.org/affiliates/kaur_sidhu/
  Pluralism Project - http://www.pluralism.org
  Harvard University - http://www.harvard.edu

Monday, June 30, 2008

Queens Sikhs March Against Bias Crimes

Protesting two recent attacks against Sikh public school students, hundreds of Sikhs, in an action organized by the Sikh Coalition and the victims’ parents, marched through Richmond Hill, the heart of the Sikh community in New York.

The protest covered a distance of 11 blocks, from the Sikh Cultural Society to Richmond High School, where one of the attacks took place earlier this month.

Traditionally, both Sikh men and women do not cut their hair for religious reasons (though that has changed in India over the last several decades).

“Kids are kids. They pick on anything. The religion requires us to stand out. They pick on things that make you stand out,” said Amardeep Singh, the legal director of the Sikh Coalition, which was founded post-9/11 to handle bias attacks against Sikhs. (Bullying of course is a widely recognized problem, that does not necessarily stop at graduation.)

There have been at least three reports of haircutting attacks against Sikh students in public schools in the last two years.

* The event which triggered today’s protest took place on June 9 when Gurprit Kaur, a student at Public School 219 in Flushing, Queens, had her hair surreptitiously cut by another student in Spanish class. The attacker had previously harassed Gurpit. “She had been taunting the victim saying, ‘I’m going to cut your brother’s ball off, referring to the top knot of hair,” said Mr. Singh. “Once we found out this incident occurred, we decided to get out in the streets.”
* On June 3, Jagmohan Singh Premi was injured after being punched in the face when another student intentionally attempted to remove his patka, a small turban, at Richmond Hill High School. He suffered a facial contusion and a possible orbital fracture of his left eye as a result of the attack, the coalition said. This attack triggered a meeting with Joel Klein, the school chancellor, who promised to create a policy to better track bias attacks.
* In May 2007, Vacher Harpal, then 15, was forced into a bathroom at Newtown High School in Elmhurst where his turban was torn off and his hair cut. Umair Ahmed, 17, was found guilty of the bias attack in March.

The coalition issued a report called “Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City’s Sikhs“[pdf] earlier this year that estimated that some 60 percent of Sikh students had been the victims of harassment or violence as a result of their Sikh identity. The coalition wants the Department of Education to train teachers on the particular dangers faced by Sikh students.

Some claims of hate crimes against Sikhs, however, have turned out to be false. In Lodi, N.J. in 2004, two Sikh teenagers who told the police they were attacked by five men who yanked off their turbans and cut off their hair fabricated the story to hide the fact that they had cut their own hair, according to the police.

Labels: , ,

DNSI     direct link     0 comments   Email post: 

Post a Comment

<< Home

About DNSI

The Discrimination & National Security Initiative (DNSI) is a research entity that examines the mistreatment of minority communities during times of military action or national crisis.

More Info:
DNSI Home Page

The Blog

Why a Blog?
The purpose of this web-log is to offer news and commentary in a fluid, dynamic format while our more substantive reports are forthcoming.

Recent Posts
Muslim Voters Detect a Snub From Obama
Op-ed: Head scarves and hate
Store Owner Shot Nearly Two Years Ago Dies
Muslim Headscarves Test the Limits of German Toler...
Obama apologizes to Muslims kept from rally
Turbans get Sikh students expelled
Muslims barred from picture at Obama event
Turbans Make Targets, Some Sikhs Find
Man claims Disney discriminated against him
Court to rule in lawsuit against FBI head, ex-AG

04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009


Religious Diversity News-Pluralism Project

Into the Whirlwind
Human Rights in India
Ethnic Confusion Britain
Anil Kalhan
Sepia Mutiny

Feeds, etc.

(c) 2005 Discrimination & National Security Initiative 1531 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138