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Hundreds Rally To Combat Hate After Sikh Assault in Chicago

For Immediate Release


September 15, 2015 (Chicago, IL) – Chicago interfaith leaders, public officials and hundreds of local community members joined the Sikh Coalition for a press conference at 11am CST/12pm EST this morning to rally in support of hate crime victim, Inderjit Singh Mukker.

To live stream the press conference, which also includes speeches from Reverend Otis Moss (Trinity Church) and Marty Castro (Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights), please click here NOW.

To read the full press conference remarks from Mr. Mukker and Sikh Coalition Board Chairman, Narinder Singh click here and here.

Mr. Mukker, a 53-year-old Sikh American and father of two, was viciously beaten in his car after being called racial slurs such as “Bin Laden,” while on his way to the grocery store in the Chicago suburb of Darien on Tuesday, September 8th. After initially not filing hate crime charges on Friday, the Sikh Coalition met and reviewed evidence with the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday. That meeting catalyzed the decision to file a hate crime charge in the case on Monday.

“The United States is my country. I am an American – and no American should be judged or attacked because of the color of their skin or their religion,” said Mr. Mukker at the press conference this morning.

The press conference and community rally in support of Mr. Mukker coincided with the anniversary of the first deadly hate crime in the United States after 9/11. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American, was shot and killed on September 15, 2001 after a man, yelling similar racial slurs, opened fire on him at his gas station in Arizona.

“From Balbir Singh Sodhi’s tragic death to Inderjit Singh Mukker’s assault last week, we are all reminded of how much more we still have to do to combat the problem of hate in our country,” said the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur. “We are thankful that Robert Berlin and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office have filed hate crime charges in Mr. Mukker’s case. It sends a clear message to Sikhs and other minority communities throughout Chicago that our government will not tolerate this sort of misguided bigotry and violence.”

Sikhs wear their articles of faith (including a turban and beard) to show their commitment to justice, equality and the rights of all. While Sikhs have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years, the community has faced disproportionate discrimination and targeted hate crimes in the 14 years since 9/11. To learn more basics about the Sikh faith and community, click here.

To schedule additional interviews or receive more material (including photos and video footage from the press conference), please contact the Sikh Coalition’s Media & Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith. The Sikh Coalition has been representing hate crime victims throughout the United States for the past 14 years and is representing Mr. Mukker in this case.


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About the Sikh Coalition

The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. In particular, we work towards a world where Sikhs may freely practice and enjoy their faith while fostering strong relations with their local community wherever they may be.

We pursue our mission by:

  • Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights are violated;
  • Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
  • Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
  • Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community empowerment

With a full-time staff of 10 and offices in New York City, Fremont, CA and Washington D.C., we are the most-staffed Sikh organization in the history of the United States.


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