- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

Police in the Chicago suburb of Darien have opened a hate crime investigation after a Sikh man was attacked Tuesday evening and called “Bin Laden.”

Police said the incident was being investigated as a hate crime but released few other details, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The victim, Inderjit Singh Mukker, a U.S. citizen, told the Sikh Coalition that the attack occurred as he was on his way to the grocery store in Darien. The cab driver and father of two said he had turned onto Cass Avenue when the suspect pulled up alongside him and yelled “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden,” the coalition said.

Mr. Mukker said he pulled over to let the man pass, but he also stopped, according to the coalition.

Mr. Mukker’s car window was down when the suspect approached him and “began beating and punching him in the face ferociously,” causing him to lose consciousness, Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur told a local NBC affiliate.

“His cheek was fractured, he had a laceration that required six stitches, he had black eyes and bruising and swelling all over his face,” she said.

Ms. Kaur said the coalition is pressing for hate crime charges against a 17-year-old suspect. She said Mr. Mukker was likely targeted because he was wearing the articles of his faith, a turban and a beard, which are meant to stand for justice and love, NBC reported.

“We want the attacker to understand that when he attacked Mr. Mukker, it was an attack against the entire community, and the entire community grieves and feels afraid,” Ms. Kaur said. “We hope that when people see a Sikh or meet a Sikh, they understand the purpose of maintaining the Sikh articles of faith is out of love for humanity.”

Mr. Mukker released a statement through the coalition, saying, “No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country. … 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.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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