News | West Harlem

SIPA professor attacked in possible hate crime

A Columbia professor was assaulted Saturday night while walking in East Harlem in an incident police are investigating as a possible hate crime.

Courtesy of SIPA
School of International and Public Affairs professor Prabhjot Singh

School of International and Public Affairs professor Prabhjot Singh, an observant Sikh who wears a turban and has a beard, was walking along 110th Street near Lenox Avenue when he was knocked down and beaten, the Huffington Post first reported Saturday, citing a police source.

A police spokesperson told Spectator that the attackers "made anti-Muslim statements and then they began punching the victim in the face," but declined to identify the name of the victim.

Singh’s friend and colleague, Simran Jeet Singh—of no relation to the professor—visited him in the hospital and confirmed that he was the victim.

A group of at least 20 “young males rode up on bikes, surrounded him and started punching him,” Simran Singh said in an email, adding that the assailants shouted "Get Osama!" and "Terrorist!" Another Sikh American, who wanted to remain anonymous, was also assaulted, he said.

Simran Singh said that the professor's injuries range from a fractured jaw to bruising and swelling across his face, and that he was discharged from the hospital slightly after midnight on Saturday. He added that the professor had met with officials from the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, as well as the Columbia Department of Public Safety.

Prabhjot Singh is a practicing doctor in East Harlem and the co-chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign, a United Nations program, according to the SIPA website. His research focuses on community-based health care delivery.

Luke Barnes contributed reporting.

chris.meyer@columbiaspectator.com  |  @cmeyer201

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Anonymous posted on

Come on, world. Stop letting me down.

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Rana Hilal posted on

How awful.

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Anonymous posted on

This speaks to volumes to just how far away we are from racial equality. Education on such issues is so important, and it seems like our system has failed us thus far.

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Anonymous posted on

speedy recovery professor. I hate to see this kind mistaken identity.

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Sikhamore posted on

So, any description of the 20 youths on bikes, or are we not gonna worry about that because this wasn't a white-committed hate crime?

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Anonymous posted on

They were "young African American men" according to the professor. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/22/prabhjot-singh-sikh-columbia-hate-crime_n_3972449.html (2:06 of the video).

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Anonymous posted on

Why is Columbia Spectator protecting the identity of the "Yong Africa Men?" Not reporting this information is critical. These are savages. Heartless thugs who kicked out the teeth of the Sikh as he lay helpless on the ground.

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Ms. Sharma posted on

Ignorance cannot be the norm #stophate Wearing a turban does not mean someone is a terrorist. Professor Prabhjot Singh wears a turban as a practice of the Sikh religion. In Sikhism all human races are considered equal. #startaconverstation #sikhrespect

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Anonymous posted on

What a shame that this horror happened to him. It is sheer stupidity when people don't know the differences between religions.

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Anila posted on

There are hundreds of examples of violence and lawlessness in more than 80 cities around the country. There's this book I have read, just google "White Girl Bleed a Lot" or this site http://whitegirlbleedalot.com/.

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Charles Freeman posted on

The young Harlem jerks really chose a good subject; a doctor who seeks to help others, a person who heads a worthwhile UN program, and a respected member of the community. Oh yes, they even mistook his religion. I really hope they get caught and are prosecuted as adults for a hate crime. Where were their parents? Where did they get the idea that they could be the executioners for our society?

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Anonymous posted on

Well they couldn't have been a group of white kids; the mainstream media would be reporting about it.

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Bond posted on

This is definitely their parents fault for not educating their kids. How can we have children in the world that are so ignorant like this. Come on parents, "wake up!"

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Concerned Student posted on

It will be a great disservice to the community of both Columbia University and Harlem if these "kids" go unidentified and unpunished. This easily could have been anyone, from a student at CC to somebody getting off a late-shift from one of the restaurants on the Broadway strip; a child walking between apartment buildings or a local resident out with their dog. If the culprits are not caught, what WOULDN'T prevent this from happening again?

While I hope this is treated as a hate crime, in my experience, mob violence doesn't care the color of its victim, religion just seemed to be an additional factor in attacking Dr. Singh.

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Anonymous posted on

Really? Really? I can't help but notice the irony, the REAL terrorists were calling this man a terrorist. Just wonderful. Stop hating on Muslims, or any other race. Give it a rest, and go get educated.

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liquidfusion posted on

If this is a hate crime, where is Al Sharpton / Jesse Jackson? Description, "20 young men" - sounds like they were Columbia students. As a graduate of Columbia College, I expect courage and vision from students and from the men and women who lead Columbia today. Nothing. Silence. Is Columbia protecting a race of people? Time to get on track. Expose the crime. Tell the world that it is not OK to attack a Sikh. That racism is any form is intolerable. And point out who these racist lowlifes are. Roar Lion Roar. Or has the Lion had its day?

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Anonymous posted on

Perhaps the French are onto something that would work well here. Make it illegal to wear any religious identification garments or symbols. If it doesn't suit the Sikh, then perhaps a religiously neutral country is not the one for that group of people.

Sorry if it sounds negative, but that seems like the most practical way to do it. Let them live in places where their clothing is not going to incite violence. (No, of course I don't approve of gang attacks!!! But that's our country, like it or not.)

Of course, it would help if we didn't have so much poverty of spirit and mind in this country, often the result of money poverty. The way we are going, it will get much worse before it gets better. And people who think the race of the attackers has a bearing, forget it. They are no doubt American citizens and reflect a lack in our own society, so don't use the blame game to make yourself feel better. They are all us.

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