HATE CRIME ALERT: New Mexico Family Become Victims of Bias Crime

June 5th, 2008

Washington D.C. – June 5, 2008: Last week, a Sikh family in Albuquerque, New Mexico awoke to find their vehicle had been defaced in an act of racist vandalism.

Mr. and Mrs. Singh, who have asked to maintain their anonymity, awoke in the morning to find their car vandalized with an extremely offensive picture of male genitalia and the statement, “(explicative removed) Alah!” (click here to see the image)

Additionally, in a phone conversation with SALDEF, the family feels they have been victim to at least two previous bias crimes. Both of the previous incidents involved a single white male between the age of 20 and 30 shouting at the couple and in one case involved an alleged physical attack with the man throwing stones at Mr. Singh.

A formal complaint has been filed with the Albuquerque Police Department; however, the investigation is still ongoing. SALDEF has engaged in direct communication with these authorities to ensure that there is an increase in patrols in the area and that the hate crime investigation continues.

“Such an incident is not only an attack against the victims, but both the larger Sikh and Muslim American communities in New Mexico”, said SALDEF Western Regional Director Kavneet Singh. Law enforcement should respond forcibly with similar cases. Often times, cases of physical bias attacks result from a poor response to issues which may seem ‘minor’ to members of the community and therefore get under-addressed.”

SALDEF is encouraged to hear that the neighbors of this couple have joined together in speaking out against such acts of hate and are showing their full-fledged support to the Singh family.

SALDEF urges the Sikh American community to report incidents of bias, regardless of how minor the situation may be perceived by local authorities by calling 911 and contacting SALDEF at info@saldef.org or 877-917-4547.

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