Attack Against Sikh Professor Sparks Community Dialogue

Students and community members joined at the site where Dr. Prabhjot Singh was brutally attacked last week in a potential hate crime.

By Von Diaz Sep 30, 2013

On September 22 Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh physician who teaches at Columbia University, was attacked in his neighborhood of Harlem by a group of young men who allegedly yelled the words "Osama" and "terrorist" at him.  That same week, news surfaced of a Sikh man who was harrassed and humiliated by police in Mississippi for wearing articles of faith, and later threatened by a judge for refusing to remove ‘that rag’ off his head.

In response, on Sunday a group of students from Columbia University Sewa organized an "American Cultural Awareness Day" at the site where Singh was attacked in Harlem, to bring attention to ongoing incidents of violence and discrimination against Sikhs in the U.S.

"With the hate crime against our beloved professor and the Sikh man who was threatened by a judge in Mississippi, it is clear that respect and acceptance acceptance are still lacking in many of our communities," Gurbani Suni, one of the events organizers, says. "We hope that community outreach events will help us embrace our differences and celebrate our unity and diversity." 

Nearly 100 people attended Sunday’s event, which brought together both local communities members and Sikh students involved with the university organization.