(SACRAMENTO, CA, 2/15/19) – The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) and its allies from the Sikh community today condemned an attack on a store clerk in Marysville, Calif., that police are calling a hate crime.
The victim, who is a clerk at a 7-Eleven, reported that on Wednesday, when he tried to confront a customer who attempted to leave without paying for his coffee, the patron threw the coffee on the clerk and punched the clerk in the face.
Later in the day, another assault was reported to police.
Police responded and spoke with the suspect, John Crain, who admitted to attacking the clerk and that he “hated Muslims” and believed that the clerk was Muslim.
CBS13 said it confirmed that the clerk is Sikh.
[NOTE: Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.]
Crain was booked into Yuba County Jail on charges of theft, assault and a hate crime.
In a statement, CAIR-SV’s Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem said:
“We condemn this attack on an individual because of his faith. This hate crime represents yet another attack on our Sikh brothers and sisters fueled by Islamophobia and those emboldened by this administration’s xenophobic policies and sentiments. We welcome the hate crime charges and encourage law enforcement to continue to take these clear incidents of bias seriously.”
Amar Singh Shergill, an American Sikh Public Affairs Association board member, said:
“Although Sikhs often bear the brunt of bigotry across the country, we must be clear that, over the past several years, hate crimes have been on the rise against all minority communities. We must stand together to stop the irresponsible rhetoric from political leaders that put us all at risk.”
Palvinder Kaur, the director of development & programs at Jakara Movement, said:
“Hate crimes against the Sikh community have been a recurring phenomena prior to 9/11. With the history of such crime weighing down on us, it is incumbent upon communities and officials to ensure such violence is addressed. It is also incumbent upon law enforcement officers and community members to facilitate environments that ensure such hate, prefaced on racial lines, comes to a close. We should all stand united against any actions that deprecate the well being and lives of any human.”
CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra said CAIR has in the past spoken out against bias-motivated attacks on American Sikhs.
In 2013, CAIR-SV decried an attack on an elderly Sikh man.
CAIR also said that American Muslims “stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters” following a deadly shooting attack targeting a house of worship of that faith in Wisconsin.
In 2011, CAIR-SV offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who gunned down two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, Calif.
In 2010, CAIR-SV called for an FBI investigation of an attack on a Sikh cab driver in West Sacramento, Calif. The driver said his passengers made anti-Muslim remarks during the attack. Two men were later arrested on charges of felony assault and commission of a hate crime.
And in 2015, CAIR-SV issued a statement condemning a brutal attack on an elderly Sikh man.
CAIR California (CAIR-CA) founds a marked rise in anti-Muslim bias incidents in California in 2017, as detailed in its Civil Rights Report. CAIR-CA recorded an 8 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 compared to 2016.
Sweilem urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-SV’s Civil Rights Department at 916-441-6269 or by filing a report at http://bit.ly/cairsvreport.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SV Communications Manager Kalin Kipling-Mojaddedi, 916-441-6269 or kkipling@cair.com