SAALT Joins Allies in Demanding NYPD Investigate attack on Hindu Priest as a Hate Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 22, 2019

SAALT joins Sad­hana, CAIR, and faith based allies in call­ing for the NYPD to inves­ti­gate the attack on Swa­mi Ji Har­ish Chan­der Puri in Queens, NY  as a hate crime.  

Swa­mi Ji Har­ish Chan­der Puri was walk­ing down the street wear­ing his tra­di­tion­al reli­gious clothes in Glen Oaks, Queens not far from the Shiv Shak­ti Peeth tem­ple around 11am last Thurs­day.  A man came up from behind him and start­ed beat­ing him.  

Eye­wit­ness­es say the attack­er shout­ed “this is my neigh­bor­hood,” dur­ing the inci­dent. 

Puri had to be rushed to the hos­pi­tal because of his injuries.  

This inci­dent hap­pened just days after Pres­i­dent Trump tweet­ed about the four women of col­or Con­gress­women known as “the Squad”:  “Why don’t they go back and help fix the total­ly bro­ken and crime infest­ed places from which they came. ” Just days after that, crowds chant­ed “send her back” about Con­gress­woman Ilhan Omar at a Trump ral­ly in North Car­oli­na.

“There will be no end to hate vio­lence unless we dis­rupt and dis­man­tle the racist nar­ra­tives and poli­cies lead­ing to this vio­lence. This should start from the top, but instead the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment are encour­ag­ing this vio­lence,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, SAALT’s Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor.

Racist polit­i­cal rhetoric from this admin­is­tra­tion is dan­ger­ous. It has a direct impact on com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the coun­try. SAALT’s Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report found that one in 5 per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence in the year after Pres­i­dent Trump was elect­ed cit­ed Trump’s name, a Trump cam­paign slo­gan, or a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy while com­mit­ting the act of vio­lence.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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13 year old in Critical Condition after Alleged Hate Crime in Northern California

May 3, 2019

Dear Friends, Com­mu­ni­ty Mem­bers, and Allies,

On April 23rd, 13 year-old Dhri­ti was walk­ing back home from the library with her father and broth­er, when a dri­ver plowed into them and sev­er­al oth­er pedes­tri­ans at a busy cross­walk in Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia. Dhri­ti is in a coma after suf­fer­ing major brain injuries and is cur­rent­ly on life sup­port. At least sev­en oth­ers were injured in the crash, all of whom are in sta­ble con­di­tion.

Short­ly after the arraign­ment of the dri­ver, Sun­ny­vale Police Chief Phan Ngo said, “Based on our inves­ti­ga­tion, new evi­dence shows that the defen­dant inten­tion­al­ly tar­get­ed the vic­tims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Mus­lim faith.” The FBI and local law enforce­ment are both inves­ti­gat­ing the crash as a hate crime.

This trag­ic and dis­turb­ing news comes at a month when report­ed hate crimes have been at an all time high. In April alone, SAALT tracked 10 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and 6 instances of xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric. Just days after the Sun­ny­vale crash, a shoot­er killed one woman and injured three oth­ers at the Chabad of Poway syn­a­gogue in San Diego. The same shoot­er is accused of set­ting fire to a mosque in Escon­di­do, CA in March. Glob­al­ly, the impact of hate vio­lence in March and April has been shat­ter­ing. Ear­li­er this month, near­ly 300 peo­ple were killed in church­es and hotels in Sri Lan­ka on East­er Sun­day. The hor­rif­ic attack occurred just weeks after at least 50 peo­ple were killed by a white suprema­cist in New Zealand who named Trump as his “sym­bol of renewed white iden­ti­ty.”

SAALT’s “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire” report draws a direct line between The Trump Administration’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da and increas­ing attacks, reveal­ing that of the 213 inci­dents of hate vio­lence doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his administration’s poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans dur­ing attacks.

This hate survives—and in fact thrives—against a back­drop of racist poli­cies from the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion like the Mus­lim Ban and fam­i­ly sep­a­ra­tion. This hate knows no bor­ders, race, or creed. This hate is a threat to Mus­lims, and to those racial­ized as Mus­lims. Sim­i­lar to the mur­der of Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la in Olathe, Kansas who was pro­filed as Mid­dle East­ern, Dhri­ti and her fam­i­ly were alleged­ly tar­get­ed because they were per­ceived as Mus­lim.

To Dhri­ti and her fam­i­ly, we stand with you, demand­ing jus­tice and an end to poli­cies and hate speech that have cre­at­ed an ecosys­tem for hate crimes to increase.

Donate to Dhriti’s health­care costs at:  https://www.gofundme.com/helpdhriti

Sin­cere­ly,

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er

Alliance of South Asians Tak­ing Action

Coun­cil of Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions — San Fran­cis­co Bay Area 

South Asian Work­ers Cen­ter, Boston

Sad­hana: Coali­tion of Pro­gres­sive Hin­dus

Hous­ton Coali­tion Against Hate

Cal­i­for­nia Immi­grant Pol­i­cy Cen­ter

South Asian Youth Action

Nari­ka: Chang­ing the Way We Live Vio­lence-Free

Sikh Fam­i­ly Cen­ter