Sikh man attacked in hate-crime as anti-Sikh graffiti surfaces elsewhere in Canada
By Barfi Culture Team
28th March 2018

A Sikh man faced racial abuse and was attacked and had his turban pulled off in Canada's capital city in what looks like a hate-crime. The incident took place on Friday night but was confirmed by Ottawa police yesterday.

Police say two white men approached the victim around 11:25pm as he waited for the bus and asked him about cutting his beard and hair.

The two men later started throwing racial slurs at the man and one produced a knife. Police said the victim tried to get away but the suspects assaulted him, dragged him along the ground and threatened him. Then they removed and stole his turban.

"He was asked specifically about his ethnicity and then there were some racial slurs that came along with that," said Staff Sgt. Mike Haarbosch of Ottawa police in a statement to CBC.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada said they were "shocked" by the incident. "The forcible removal of a Sikh’s turban is considered the greatest insult a Sikh can be subjected to and is being taken very seriously by the community," its President Mukhbir Singh said in response.

On Twitter, several Sikhs wrote that the media's recent focus on 'Sikh extremism' contributed to a rise in hatred.

"This is what minorities fear. A month of media equating Sikhs w/ terrorism despite evidence to the contrary is irresponsible & dangerous. It emboldens racists & allows them to legitimize the hate they harbour," tweeted Amneet Singh, a former aide to Jagmeet Singh.

The WSO's Mukhbir Singh made the same point: "We had feared that recent accusations of extremism and radicalism against the Sikh community would lead to a rise in intolerance against Sikhs - this incident would appear to substantiate those fears."

It also pointed to racist graffiti it had spotted in a city just outside of Toronto.

Some Sikhs responded by using the #SikhLove hashtag on Twitter

Some squarely blamed the media for the rise in hate.

Sameep Singh Gumtala tweeted: "This negative propaganda by media is hurting not just one community but the entire country. Hope that common sense will prevail, media will spread love among people not hate."

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