On December 6, moments after leaving a policy conference at the White House, a taxi driver called Minnesota Representative-Elect Ilhan Omar a member of “ISIS” and threatened to forcibly remove her hijab. Ms. Omar calls it the “most hateful, derogatory, Islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats I have ever experienced.”
A day earlier in New York City, Soha Salama, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee was harassed, called a “terrorist”, and pushed down a flight of stairs at Grand Central subway station. She was told to “go back” to her country by her assailant during the attack.
Days earlier in Pittsburgh, Ankur Mehta was working on his computer in a Red Robin Restaurant when a drunken man told him “things are different now” and “I don’t want you sitting next to me.” He then proceeded to use racial slurs such as “sandn****r” before striking Mr. Mehta several times with his fists and elbows.
These incidents occurred in a span of a little over one week. Sadly, there are many more. In 2016 SAALT tracked over 200 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against our communities. These incidents have surged massively in the wake of the Presidential election.
In the coming weeks and months, SAALT will:
- Release a detailed report to policymakers and the media on hate incidents against South Asian, Muslim, and Arab Americans during the 2016 election cycle to fully illustrate the extent to which our communities are under attack;
- Organize town hall meetings throughout the country to understand the local concerns of our communities nationwide;
- Hold the 10th anniversary of our National South Asian Summit where hundreds of thought leaders, organizations, and activists from across the country will come together to strategize on how to support and defend our communities in this new and uncertain future. We will then take to Capitol Hill to engage with policymakers and government agencies en masse.
The time to answer the urgent call for South Asian American justice is now. Please stand with us as we take on the enormous challenges ahead. Will you make a contribution to our work?
With your support, we can push back against hate so that our communities can enjoy the freedoms and rights owed to all Americans. With your contribution, we can help make America better for us all.
Please donate as generously as you can today.
Executive Director, SAALT