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USA Weprin & Sikh Cultural Society Rally Against Hate Crimes


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Weprin And Sikh Cultural Society Rally Against Hate Crimes


Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill) and the Sikh Cultural Society held a rally against hate crimes. The rally was organized in response to a recent increase in the number of hate crimes against the South Asian American community, most notably the assault of Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh American professor from Columbia University whose jaw was broken by roughly two dozen assailants on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at West 110th Street and Lenox Avenue New York, NY 10026. The assailants shouted slurs such as “Osama” and “terrorist” before grabbing his beard and beating him to the ground. The NYPD's hate crime task force is looking into the incident.

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill) stated, “In a nation that thrives because of its long standing commitment to diversity, religious
tolerance and freedom, it is unacceptable that Sikh Americans have been the repeated targets of hate crimes. Mass violence and hate crimes against
any group of people are intolerable and preventable. On behalf of Dr. Prabhjot Singh, his wife Manmeet Kaur and their entire family, we stand
united in working together with our local communities and law enforcement in preventing future attacks and addressing all of the challenges facing
the Sikh American community.”

“We are all troubled by the rising number of hate crimes in a city that we all refer to as home. Today marks an opportunity for us to pool our
resources, minds, and resolve to ensure that we have a safe and nourishing environment for all New Yorkers. A safer New York for all people is a
stronger New York City,” said Sona Simran Kaur Rai, a spokesperson for Prabhjot Singh and a member on the Board of Directors of the Sikh
American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “Prabhjot, his wife Manmeet and their entire family are so thankful for the outpouring of support
they have received in the past week. It has made their ability to accept and move forward from this shocking event easier, and it has given them a
renewed sense of how important the work they have committed their lives to, really is.”

According to a report conducted by the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, there have been more than 300 hate crimes against Sikh
Americans in the years following the 9/11 attacks. Hate crime victims are subjected to intimidation, vandalism of religious centers or personal
property, assault, discrimination in the workplace, rape and murder. The FBI uses the Hate Crime Incident Report Form (1-699) to tracks hate
crimes. On the 1st anniversary of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder made an announcement that FBI Director
Robert Mueller added Anti-Sikh, Anti-Hindu and Anti-Arab as three new categories to the FBI’s Hate Crimes Statistics Act (HCSA). The FBI now
tracks hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, Arabs, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Orthodox Christians. Dr. Prabhjot Singh was a
leading advocate for the FBI to specifically include Sikh Americans in its hate crime statistics.

“Despite the peaceful values of Sikhism, many in the Sikh community continue to be victims of hate,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (DQueens).
“This is outrageous and unacceptable, and it is essential that we do all we can to put an end to this disgraceful intolerance, and combat the
ignorance that many Americans have about the Sikh faith. I’m confident that the hard working professionals of the NYPD will catch the cowards
who attacked Columbia University professor Prabhjot Singh, and I hope that those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Pervasive intolerance and hatred have no place in our community,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows). “Today, we
gather, united in ensuring that what happened to Prabhjot Singh will never happen again. I want to thank Assemblymember David Weprin, the Sikh
Cultural Society and local community leaders for organizing this rally and for always standing together in the fight against injustice.”

Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) stated, “I stand united with Dr. Prabhjot Singh and the Sikh community against those who would
attack someone based on ignorance and hate. In addition to being an Assistant Professor at Columbia University, Dr. Singh is also a resident
physician at Mt. Sinai Hospital serving the healthcare needs of the community. I want to thank Mr. Singh for his dedication to the community and I will continue to be as dedicated in educating our community to make sure hate crimes like this are stopped.”

“Hate crimes have no place in our society. I strongly condemn the discrimination that has plagued the Sikh community for far too long,” said
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) stated, “New York City is home to one of the most inclusive and diverse communities of all
races, ethnicities and religious beliefs. Hate crimes of any act or form have no place here or anywhere else. We condemn these deplorable acts and
stand strongly against all forms of bigotry.”

“Queens has the pleasure of being the most diverse Borough in the city, and hate crimes toward any religion, race, or sexual orientation is
unacceptable” said Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). “Every resident, no matter what their background or where they come from, has
something unique that they can bring to the table, helping to ensure Queens remains the best borough in the city. I would like to thank
Assemblyman David Weprin for organizing this rally and all the people here today, for standing up against hate crimes.”

New York City Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Candidate and Councilwoman Letitia James
(D-Fort Greene), Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), District Leader Uma Sengupta (DKew
Garden Hills) and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Richmond Hill) are the elected officials that attended the rally.


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