A Sikh man in Canada was dragged and his turban ripped by two white men who shouted racial slurs and threatened him with a knife in an apparent racist attack, according to media reports.
The man was attacked by two white men, both in their 20s, near Westgate Shopping Centre on Friday night, CBC news reported.
Apart from robbing him and tearing the turban off his head, the two threatened him with a knife. They also hurled racial slurs at him, the report said yesterday.
Two suspects, described as white men by police, approached the victim at 11:25 p.m. while he waited for a bus. They asked the man about his ethnicity and spoke about cutting his beard and hair, police said.
“He was asked specifically about his ethnicity and then there were some racial slurs that came along with that,” said Staff Sergent Mike Haarbosch of the Ottawa police.
“They also asked him whether he’d ever cut his hair or his beard, so, that’s pretty specific, so at a minimum we’re suggesting at this point that there were some racial overtones to this.”
The two suspects left, then returned and asked the man for change. Police said they started making racial slurs, and one suspect produced a knife.
The victim ran to a nearby business, which was locked. Police said the suspects then assaulted the man, dragged him on the ground and threatened him.
They also removed and stole the victim’s turban, as well as his phone and bus pass, police said.
Haarbosch said this may be an isolated incident, but they’re looking for more information.
“We have some information they may have been drinking, so this could certainly be a one-off event committed by a couple of guys that were acting stupidly and disgustingly, but that’s part of the investigation that’s going on.”
The victim was treated by paramedics for minor injuries.
Police are investigating the incident and whether it was a hate-motivated crime.
Political leaders of both the democratic and conservative parties in Canada have condemned the attack, adding that the Sikh community in Canada have for “long stood on guard for our freedom and have helped to build our country for well over a century. Shame on those responsible.
Meanwhile, the World Sikh Organisation (WSO) of Canada said it is deeply disturbed by the attack.
“We are shocked by the attack on a Sikh in Ottawa last week.
We had feared that recent accusations of extremism and radicalism against the Sikh community would lead to a rise in intolerance against Sikhs,” WSO President Mukhbir Singh said.
The forcible removal of a Sikh’s turban is considered the greatest insult a Sikh can be subjected to and is being taken very seriously by the community, Singh added.