A Sikh man’s turban was ripped off outside UK Parliament in an attack that was reportedly racially motivated.
The incident happened when Ravneet Singh, from India’s Punjab, was waiting outside Portcullis House to meet Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi. The attacker reportedly shouted “Muslim go back” before approaching Singh and attempting to rip off his headgear.
“I was in the queue outside Portcullis House and this guy ran up to us. Just before we got to the entrance he came up to me and attacked me,” Singh was quoted as saying by The Independent. “He was pulling at my turban strongly. It half moved and I grabbed it. Before he could do anything else I shouted at him and he ran,” he said.
Singh said that the man was white, but did not sound English. “He said something like ‘Muslim go back’,” he said.
Labour MP Dhesi took to Twitter to express his “disgust” at the incident.
“Disgraceful and cowardly racist attack on
@ecosikh Ravneet Singh on the grounds of @UKParliament estate. Please ensure reports are filed with @metpoliceuk and @SikhAwareUK. Inspiring and compassionate words by Ravneet Singh “I pray for the man who attacked me”.
Sikh hate crimes are nothing new in the UK. Post 9/11 attacks, the Sikh community, due to their resemblance to Muslims for their long beard, are often victims of hate crimes.
Freedom of Information requests to the Metropolitan Police by a Network of Sikh Organisations revealed that “one in four victims of Islamophobia hate crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police in 2015 and 2016 were actually non-Muslims.”
This led to the formation of Sikh Aware UK, launched by the Sikh Council UK to report and monitor anti-Sikh hate crime. “It’s important for Sikhs that there exist mechanisms for accurately recording anti-Sikh hate crimes in order to effectively challenge them as well as provide support to victims,” Gurmel Singh, Secretary General of the Sikh Council UK said.