On Saturday night, a Columbia University professor was attacked in Harlem by a gang of teenagers. Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh man, says the assailants yelled "Get Osama!" and "terrorists" before he was beaten. Singh tried to escape, but was punched several times. The punching and kicking continued when Singh fell to the ground, leaving him with a fractured jaw among other injuries.A pedestrian came to his aid and fought his attackers off.
Singh was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital and treated for injuries described as "severe, but non-life-threatening." A practicing doctor in East Harlem, Singh and colleague Simran Jeet Singh penned a New York Times op-ed following the Sikh temple shooting in Milwaukee last August which chronicled the history of anti-Sikh violence in America:
But there are two disturbing aspects of the response to the shooting that deserve wider public attention.
First is the notion of “mistaken identity” — the assumption that Mr. Page, who had long-established ties to radical right-wing groups, mistook Sikhs for Muslims, his presumed target. The second is the government’s failure to accurately measure the extent of anti-Sikh violence in America — a gap that must be remedied.
Whatever the roots of Mr. Page’s hatred, it is wrong to assume that every attack against a Sikh is really meant for a Muslim. That assumption overlooks the long history of discrimination and hatred directed at Sikhs in America.