There’s nothing new about Sikhs being the targets of violence and intimidation in the United States. Recently, a Sikh man named as Harpreet Singh Khalsa, 33, was confused as a ‘Muslim with a sword’ in the US. The police encircled him and he went through racial profiling. The incident happened in the Northampton County, Pennsylvania, the US.
According to police, they received several calls about a deceptive Muslim man walking around the Bethlehem Square Shopping Center with a large knife or ‘sword’. Amid the swirl of misinformation, Police surrounded this Sikh man as he was carrying a kirpan. According to Harpreet Singh Khalsa, he was visiting from Maryland. He said he was wearing a kirpan which is one of the five articles of the Sikh faith. He was very scared as he was surrounded by several police officials and was asked to surrender by keeping his hands on his head and was embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed. It was a fear-driven racism for him.
The city police specified that those who had informed about this had showed their concerns and had done the right thing. Due to recent attacks in New York and Minnesota, officers are on higher alert and it is good to check it out.
Khalsa was not charged and his kirpan was returned to him. He had no plans to come back to the Lehigh valley as he was humiliated and called as ‘un-American’. Hate violence intensified in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment washed over the country, leading some to confuse the long beards and turbans worn by many Sikh men as a representation of Islam. Others viewed it simply as an opportunity to attack individuals they perceived as being ‘un-American’. According to the Sikh Coalition, there were over 300 cases of violence and discrimination against U.S. Sikhs in the first month after the 2001 attacks.
A new campaign is promoting awareness about Sikhs, trying to distance the religious group from an association with terrorism, but recent incidents show that there is indeed a long way to go.