Our tip lines have been exploding about a New York incident involving a Sikh high school student who was assaulted; his turban was ripped off and then his hair, which had never been shorn, was cut against his will. Unfortunately for those of you who kept submitting the story, there were crickets chirping in the bunker this weekend. Our delay in blogging it was not a reflection of whether we feel the issue was important or not.
- The Sikh boy was trading “Yo Mama”-like insults with two others
- Things got out of hand
- He tried to apologize
- He was informed that the only way to do so would be a haircut (WTF?)
- That’s when he was dragged in to a bathroom and cut
- Two other boys served as “lookouts”
- All the boys may or may not have been friends
- The teenaged defendant is a Muslim of Pakistani descent
- Other desi students said this was anomalous for their school.
From the Queens D.A.’s press release:
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, just after 12:00 noon on May 24, 2007, the defendant, armed with a pair of scissors, approached 15-year-old Vacher Harpal in the hallway of Newtown High School, located at 48-01 90th Street, and stated, â€œI have to cut your hair.â€ When Harpal asked, â€œFor what, it is against my religion,â€ the defendant allegedly displayed a ring with Arabic inscriptions and stated, â€œThis ring is Allah. If you donâ€™t let me cut your hair, I will punch you with this ring.â€ It is alleged that Harpal initially refused to go into the bathroom with the defendant because he feared that the defendant would hurt him with the scissors.
Once inside the bathroom, it is alleged that Harpal removed his dastar while crying and begging the defendant not to cut his hair, which had never been cut and fell past his waist. The defendant is then alleged to have used the scissors to cut Harpalâ€™s hair to the neckline and thrown the hair into the toilet and onto the floor. [link]
Is this a hate crime? Or just juvenile stupidity and roughhousing gone too far?