A Sikh man was beaten in a roadside attack on Tuesday night in suburban Chicago by an assailant who called him a “terrorist,” television WMAQ reported. Police in Darien, Illinois were treating the incident, which came just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, as a hate crime, according to the station.
According to WMAQ, Inderjit Singh Mukker, a longtime American citizen and father of two, was driving to the grocery store when a fellow driver began lobbing insults at him and repeatedly cutting him off. The station reported that Mukker said he pulled over to let the man pass, but the other driver stopped his car, walked over to Mukker’s vehicle, and started beating him through the open window. According to the station, Mukker said that during the assault, the man berated him with racial slurs, including, “Go back to your country, Bin Laden!”
Mukker was hospitalized with a fractured cheek, a laceration that required six stitches, black eyes, and dark bruises across his body, according to the Sikh Coalition, which was representing his case. WMAQ reported the alleged assailant was in police custody.
In a statement given to the Sikh Coalition, Mukker said, “No American should be afraid to practice their faith in our country. I’m thankful for the swift response of authorities to apprehend the individual, but without this being fully investigated as a hate crime, we risk ignoring the horrific pattern of intolerance, abuse and violence that Sikhs and other minority communities in this country continue to face.”