This morning Columbia University professor Dr. Prabhjot Singh shared with HuffPost Live his account of being assaulted on Saturday evening by a group of young men shouting anti-Muslim statements. Singh is a practicing doctor in East Harlem and co-chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign, a United Nations program.
He told HuffPost Live that he had been walking with a companion at the park, after dropping off his one-year-old son and wife. He provided details about the attack, including that people in the group said “Get him” and “Osama” and “terrorist” and punched him when he tried to run away, before surrounding him and hitting him to the ground where they continued beating him. When asked to describe who the people were and what they looked like, Singh said he had been working with the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit but unfortunately did not have “sketch-level accuracy.”
Amardeep Singh, program director of the Sikh Coalition, told CNN
What happened did not happen in a vacuum. Here in New York City, we regularly receive reports that Sikh school children are called ‘Bin Laden’ or ‘terrorist’ by classmates and sometimes endure physical violence.
Most Sikhs in the U.S. know that they are potentially subject to verbal abuse and hostility at virtually any time, though especially in large crowds. We also know that supposedly cosmopolitan cities like New York and San Francisco are actually not any better or worse than small towns when it comes to encountering mean-spirited people and thug-like behavior. What is admittedly a surprise is when that kind of name-calling turns into something else, as seems to be what happened here.