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USA Sikh Org On Clerk Attack: 'Americans Must Be Free To Practice Their Faith Without Fear'


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
A national Sikh organization came out in support Tuesday of a Seattle convenience store clerk attacked in an apparent hate crime.

According to police, 35-year-old Seattle resident Brock Stainbrook derided the Queen Anne clerk as being a terrorist after punching him in the head during the Aug. 24 incident. King County prosecutors contend Stainbrook told the man, "you're not even American, you're al-Qaida" after attacking him at a 7-11 store in the 300 block of Denny Way.

In accusing Stainbrook of committing a hate crime, King County prosecutors asserted he targeted the clerk in part because he was wearing a turban. Turbans -- dastaars, to Sikhs -- are considered an article of faith to adherents of the religion, which originated in South Asia more than 500 years ago.

Praising police and prosecutors for pursuing the allegations, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund Managing Director Kavneet Singh denounced what the organization described as a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment.

"These crimes based on the perceived race, ethnicity, or religion of the victim cannot be tolerated," Singh said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, the anti-Muslim bias and nativist feelings that motivates these attacks are based on a premise that runs counter to the fundamental freedoms and liberties that our nation was founded upon.

"All Americans must be free to practice their faith without fear."

Charging Stainbrook earlier this month, prosecutors contend he admitted to punching the clerk in the head.

"After the suspect struck (the clerk) with his fist he said, 'You're not even American, you're Al-Qaida. Go back to your country,'" a Seattle detective told the court.

Another employee then stepped in, forcing Stainbrook to leave the store. As he did so, police allege the man tried to kick the second employee and damaged a barcode scanner.

Police arrested Stainbrook walking nearby minutes later.

Confronted by police, he allegedly admitted that he "struck a person on his turban" because he disliked him.

Stainbrook has been charged with fourth-degree assault and malicious harassment, Washington state's hate crime statute. He remains jailed on $150,000 bail.


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