Sikh Columbia University Professor Dr. Prabhjot Singh Attacked By Gang of Young Men Who Called Him "Osama" [UPDATED]
It was an ugly weekend. On Saturday night, not long after a woman in a hijab was attacked in Times Square and called a terrorist, a Columbia University professor was beaten in Harlem in an unrelated incident. Dr. Prabhjot Singh was attacked just after 8 p.m. near 110th Street and and Lennox by a large gang of young men, some of them on bicycles, who yelled, among other things, "Osama" and "terrorist." Dr. Singh is Sikh.
Image via Twitter Dr. Prabhjot Singh
Singh, a director of systems design at the Earth Institute, a professor of international affairs at Columbia, and a physician with a practice in East Harlem, told Buzzfeed that the attack occurred just after he'd dropped his wife and one-year-old son off at their home. He was walking with a friend when they passed a group of what he estimates were 25 to 30 young men, most of them African-American, who began yelling "Get him," "Osama" and "terrorist." He was grabbed by the beard and punched in the face repeatedly, falling to the ground. Before bystanders came to his aid, he sustained injuries to his lip and jaw, according to the NYPD. (The police estimate Singh's crowd of attackers at 15 to 20 people.)
A friend, Simran Jeet Singh, told the website that some of Prabhjot's teeth were also knocked loose, and that he sustained "multiple fractures" and a puncture to his elbow. (The two men are not related; all Sikh men use the last name "Singh," while women use the name "Kaur.") Singh was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital and treated for his injuries, including undergoing surgery on his jaw. There have been no arrests in the attack, which police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) issued a statement condemning the attack, and asking city leaders to do the same. "New York's religious and political leaders must speak out forcefully against the type of bigotry that leads to hate attacks on people of all faiths and backgrounds," said Sadyia Khalique, CAIR's operations coordinator. The incident has already become national and even worldwide news, with the New Delhi-based Hindustan Times also reporting on the story.
Prabhjot Singh and Simran Jeet Singh penned an op-ed for the New York Times last year, calling on the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs, something the agency announced this June that it would begin doing.
Next Page: More on hate crimes.