Sikh Man Attacked, Racially Abused in Canada
Two white men robbed the Sikh man, and removed and stole his turban in Ottawa, the police said.
A Sikh man in Canada was allegedly attacked by two white men on March 23, who not only robbed him, but also hurled racial slurs at him, threatened him and removed his turban, the Ottawa Police Service said in a statement.
The Ottawa Police Service Robbery Unit is now investigating the incident that appears to have racial overtones. On the night of March 23, the complainant had left his place of employment near the Westgate Mall in Ottawa, and was waiting for a bus at a bus stop.
The man was approached by two suspects, who asked him about his ethnicity, and about cutting his beard and hair. “The two suspects left but then returned and asked for change. The suspects started to make racial slurs, and one suspect produced a knife,” the statement added.
The man ran to a nearby store, but he could not gain entry as the doors were locked. According to the police, the victim was assaulted by the two suspects, dragged on the ground, and threatened. The two white men then removed and stole the victim’s turban, as well as his phone and bus pass. He sustained minor injuries, and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
The employer of the Sikh man said that he told him he would quit the job as he was “too petrified” to come back to work, Ottawa Citizen reported. The employer added that the victim is on a student visa in Ottawa and has been staying in the city for two months.
The two suspects have been described by the police as being in their twenties. A part of the investigation will ascertain if this was a hate-motivated crime.
World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) president Mukhbir Singh on March 27 urged the police to investigate the incident as a hate crime and ensure that those responsible are quickly brought to justice.
“We are shocked by the attack on a Sikh male in Ottawa last week. 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,” Singh said in a statement, adding, “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.”
He also said that over the past several weeks, the WSO has repeatedly expressed concern that intolerance towards Sikhs is on the rise in Canada.