American Sikhs Face Threats and Violence

September 13, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On September 13, 2001 The New York Times reported that the backlash following the terrorist attacks are impacting "the lives of ordinary Arab- and Muslim-Americans -- and surprisingly, those who are neither Arab nor Muslim but look to untutored American eyes as if they might be." The article mentioned numerous incidents against Muslims, as well as "people who had nothing to do with the Islamic world but who might appear alien to untutored American eyes. Indian women chose not to wear their flowing, pajama-tunic outfits. Sikh men, with their religiously prescribed beards and turbans, reported being accosted. They said they were apparently being mistaken as followers of Osama bin Laden, pictured on television with a turban of a different sort." Three violent incidents were reported against Sikhs were reported in the New York area. The article quoted Amrik Singh Chawla, "a financial services consultant who was chased by the three men in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, sprinted onto a train and landed in Brooklyn, where he slipped into a shop, stuffed his turban into his briefcase and wore his hair in a ponytail for the rest of the day. 'I'm like terrified for my life now, not just seeing people flying out of buildings, but for my own life,' Mr. Chawla said."