Sikh Prof. Attacked by Mob Calls for ‘National Conversation’
On September 21, Prabjot Singh, a 31-year-old Sikh, living in New York City was attacked in what police are investigating as a hate crime according to USA Today.
The Columbia University professor was badly beaten by a mob that thought the professor was a Muslim.
Singh said a group of 25 to 30 people attacked him and he was on the ground being kicked when passersby intervened, saving him according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m grateful to them. It could have been a lot worse,” Singh said, as he suffered a fractured jaw in the attack and underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital later that evening.
On Monday Dr. Singh was on HuffPost Live to discuss the incident where he described that he feels “remarkably okay” following the attack.
He described the incident by stating, “I saw young men on bikes. I heard, ‘Get him! And ‘Osama’ and ‘terrorist,’ not all at the same time. I felt somebody grab my beard and hit my chin while on a bike. I started running in the direction away from where all the bikes were mobilizing, and then was punched while running. Eventually they surrounded me, and [I] was hit to the ground with punches to the face and torso.”
Singh who is a practicing doctor in East Harlem and an assistant professor of International and Public Affairs co-authored an op-ed in the New York Times last year on the importance of gathering more information on hate crimes against Sikhs according to Huffington Post.
Friend and co-author, Simran Jeet Singh told Huffington Post that the professor was on an evening walk after dropping his wife and 1-year-old at home.
On HuffPost Live, Singh said the attack was a remember to have a “national conversation” about what it means to be American.
He also stated on HuffPost Live that, “Ultimately, to simply punish the individuals who’ve acted out on hate crimes is insufficient. More broadly, we need to have a real national conversation around who looks American, what does it mean to be American.”
“It’s incredibly sad,” Singh said in the Daily News. “It’s not the neighborhood I know. I work in this community. It’s just not American.”