Inderjit Singh Mukker did not expect his night to end with a trip to the hospital earlier this week. The man was on his way to the grocery store in Darien, Illinois, when another driver started to hurl racial slurs and insults at him through the open window of his car. According to the Huffington Post, Mukker decided to stop his car to allow the other driver to pass and continue on their way.
However, that did not happen.
The other driver, a 17-year-old teen, also stopped, and he proceeded to punch Mukker repeatedly through the open window of his car. During the attack, he yelled, “Go back to your country, Bin Laden.” Mukker was also called a “terrorist.”
This was due to his appearance. Mukker practices the Sikh religion. Because of this, he keeps his hair uncut and covered by a turban. Those from the Punjab region, which is a part of India, practice the Sikh religion. Mukker is an American citizen and father of two children. Because of the attack, he passed out and was rushed to the hospital. He suffered a broken cheekbone and other injuries in the attack.
The Sikh Coalition released Mukker’s statement on Thursday.
“No American should 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 is receiving support from The Sikh Coalition. Harsimran Kaur, a legal director for the organization, released his own statement about the alleged attack.
“On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, the violent attack on Mr. Mukker is another painful reminder for all Americans that hate remains alive and well in the United States. While we relentlessly work to protect Mr. Mukker’s rights and work hard to ensure that hate crime charges are pursued in this case, we urge all Americans to reach out to their neighbors to build bridges of understanding. It is through recognizing our collective humanity that we can work together to end hate.”
As for the teenager involved in the alleged attack, he has not been yet been charged, but the Chicago Tribune reported that Darien Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and they plan to press charges. On Thursday morning, the teen was in the hospital for an unknown reason. Once he is released, the police will take him into custody and press charges.
On Thursday evening, Mukker’s father spoke about his son and the incident at a press conference. He revealed that his son was home from the hospital. He also said, “He had broken cheekbones and he couldn’t see anything. His eyes are all puffed up. He is not in good shape. It’s very frightening. He is a very hardworking young man with two kids. He’s a very peace-loving person.”
Mukker’s attack has caused outrage in the Sikh community and on social media. Several leaders in the Sikh community have spoken out about the incident, and they want the attack treated as a hate crime. Bhagwant Mann, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, released his own statement on Thursday, according to the New Indian Express.
“It is sad that a Sikh is attacked in Chicago. It is not for the first time that such an incident has taken place. The people misunderstand us as terrorists because of our outlook. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should raise this issue so that such incidents do not happen in the future. The External Affairs Ministry must also take this seriously.”
CBS Chicago reported that Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called Mukker’s attack, an “attack against America.”
On Twitter, several people have spoken up about the attack against Mukker. The universal emotion is outrage.
What happened to Inderjit Singh Mukker is a travesty http://t.co/EYGD1eA3X8
— roxane gay (@rgay) September 10, 2015
— your pretty weeper (@salstfu) September 11, 2015
— Alan Brave (@naykedsoul) September 11, 2015
— shalla (@spacecheetos) September 11, 2015
— SABA North America (@SABALegal) September 11, 2015
— سلوا ترین (@salwa_tareen) September 11, 2015
The investigation into the attack of Inderjit Singh Mukker is still ongoing. What do you think of this incident as Americans remember those that died on September 11?