On April 13, 2014, a pair of shootings committed by a lone gunman occurred at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, both located in Overland Park, Kansas. A total of three people were killed in the shootings, two who were shot at the community center and one who was shot at the retirement community.
According to a 2013 survey by Stanford University and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 49 percent of Americans believe that Sikhism is a sect of Islam, even though it’s a separate religion. Some Americans also tend to associate turbans and Sikhs with Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State or the Taliban. The survey found that 20 percent of respondents are likely to become angry or apprehensive if they encounter a stranger wearing a turban.
Sikhism, which originated in India, is the fifth largest religion in the world and is independent from Islam.
Still, Sikh Americans have been disproportionately targeted because of their religion or what people perceived it to be.
According a 2010 survey by the Sikh Coalition, 1 in 10 Sikhs in the Bay Area reported being victims of hate crimes, 68 percent of which were physical attacks. Many of the attacks have been violent and fatal.
Madasani told the New York Times on Friday night Purinton “asked us what visa are we currently on and whether we are staying here illegally”.
Both men were educated in the US and were working in the country legally.
Madasani told the Times: “We didn’t react. People do stupid things all the time. This guy took it to the next level.”