An Indian-American Sikh man was assaulted and called a “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” in an alleged hate crime in a Chicago suburb, a civil and human rights organization said Wednesday. No charges were filed in the case, according to police.
The incident occurred late Tuesday in DuPage County's Darien city, 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, when Inderjit Singh Mukker, a cab driver, was on his way to a grocery store and a man yelled racial slur at him. Mukker pulled over his car to let the person pass, but the latter also stopped, the Sikh Coalition said in a statement.
“The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mukker in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, bleed profusely and suffer a fractured cheekbone and a laceration to his cheek,” the group said. According to the New York City-based organization, the man allegedly called Mukker a “terrorist” and told him to “go back to your country, Bin Laden!”
Mukker, a U.S. national and father of two, was taken to a hospital and received six stitches. The alleged attacker was later taken in police custody.
Police said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime, but did not provide any further details, NBC reported.
“We believe Mukker was targeted and assaulted because of his Sikh religious appearance, race or national origin,” Harsimran Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s legal director, said in the statement.
Mukker said that Americans should not "be afraid to practice their faith in our country."
"I'm thankful for the authorities' swift response to apprehend the individual but without this being fully investigated as a hate crime, we risk ignoring the horrific pattern of intolerance, abuse and violence that Sikhs and other minority communities in this country continue to face," Mukker said.
The attack is the latest hate crime against Sikhs in the U.S., according to the organization. It said that last August, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh father in New York City, was termed a “terrorist,” run over and dragged 30 feet. In 2012, a gunman opened fire into a Gurudwara, a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and shot dead six innocent people.