Mohamed Hassanain arrested, charged with hate crime for attack on Sikh cabbie

New York Authorities in the US have arrested and charged with hate crime a man, who attacked an Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver at JFK International Airport here, knocked off his turban and yelled at him “turbaned people, go back to your country.”

Mohamed Hassanain was arrested on Thursday for the January 3 attack on the Sikh taxi driver, who is being identified only as Mr Singh out of respect for his request for privacy.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD) confirmed on Friday that Hassanain was arrested for the attack against Singh, said community-based civil and human rights organization The Sikh Coalition.

The incident is being considered a hate crime, given that Hassanain shouted “go back to your country” and called Singh “turbaned people” in a derogatory manner while repeatedly punching and shoving him, it said.

Hassanain is being charged with ‘assault in the third degree’ as a hate crime, assault in the third degree, and aggravated harassment in the second degree, and will be arraigned on Saturday, it added.

“I am thankful to law enforcement, the Sikh Coalition, and all those in the community who have offered their strength in this difficult time,” Singh said in a statement to The Sikh Coalition. “No one should experience what I did, but if they do, I hope they receive the same overwhelming amount of support and quick, professional action by the authorities in response,” he said.

Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur Aakre said the organization was grateful to the Port Authority Police Department and Queens District Attorney’s Office for their prompt action in this case, and for recognising that the attack on Singh included clear anti-Sikh bias.

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