The anti-immigrant sentiment in America is reaching deadly heights. The inevitable result of the sort of nativist rabble-rousing and xenophobic scapegoating that Trump and the rest of the Republican presidential field advocates is violence of the most abhorrent kind. Attacks on foreigners by racist whites in our country are occurring more and more frequently, and they are beginning to resemble those carried out every day by white supremacists in the Russian Federation. The most recent victim is Inderjit Singh Mukker, from Darien, Illinois.
Mukker, an American citizen and father of two, was driving home from the grocery store on September 8th when he found himself being insulted by another driver. He stopped to let the other driver pass, but the assailant exited his vehicle and began beating Mr. Mukker through the window, screaming racial slurs and telling him “go back to your country, Bin Laden!” Mukker was hospitalized with a fractured cheekbone and several serious lacerations.
Mr. Mukker is a Sikh, a follower of a monotheistic religion from Punjab, India, which believes in the One Immortal Being and his teachings expressed through ten holy gurus. Their religious beliefs prescribe heavy beards and the wearing of turbans; for this, they are often wrongly targeted by ignorant Americans for being “Arabs.” The Sikh Coalition of New York City reports that attacks on Sikhs are fairly frequent: “In the last twelve months alone, a Sikh professor was assaulted in Harlem; a Sikh pedestrian had his turban forcibly removed near Wall Street; a Sikh business owner was run over and dragged under a truck in Queens; and a Sikh doctor was assaulted on Roosevelt Island.”
Mukker had this to say about his attack: “No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country. I’m thankful for the swift response of authorities 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.”
This is what the face of fascism truly is. For all the self-righteous rhetoric coming from the right about how America is the “land of the free,” they sure have a hard time allowing different people to exercise their own freedoms. Our nation is a melting pot, a multi-ethnic and multi-gendered society where folks from all corners of the world live together. The kind of racial and ethnically divisive politics being bandied around by Trump and his rivals is extraordinarily dangerous, the same kind of propaganda that Vladimir Putin uses to great success to keep his nation divided and easily controllable; the same kind that leads to race riots and pogroms. There is no place for such petty hatreds in our politics, and we owe it to our minority populations to keep them safe from these kinds of violent outbursts. They have just as much of a right to live here as anybody else does.
We wish Mr. Mukker a speedy recovery and that swift justice be wrought upon his assailant.