Sikh Man's Response to the NYC Bombing Is the Best Argument Against Racial Profiling

September 21st 2016

Almie Rose

Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was arrested in connection with setting off bombs in cities in New York and New Jersey, was captured after a fire fight with police because a bar owner recognized his face.

Now the bar owner, Harinder Singh Bains, is speaking out about the arrest but also the importance of avoiding racial profiling. Bains, who is Sikh, told The Sikh Coalition that he did what any American would do, while subtly reminding us there is no right way for an American to look.

"...I realize that I could have been mistaken for the perpetrator."

"When I heard about the attacks and realized the suspect was sleeping in a doorway across the street, I did what any American would do," he said. "I called the police. I'm not a hero. The police are heroes; the EMTs are heroes; everyone who is working to bring New York and New Jersey together today is a hero."

He then brings up an important point:

"As a Sikh American, I realize that I could have been mistaken for the perpetrator. My faith teaches me justice and tolerance for all, and I know that I'm lucky to live in a community that shares this view. I want to remind Americans that after an attack, we should target people based on evidence, not their faith or their country of origin or their accent. I came to this country from India 20 years ago to create a better life for my family. I am a father of four and a proud American citizen. I am also what America looks like."

When communities work together, society benefits.

New Yorkers received a text alert after the attacks asking them to help identify the suspect.

However, people were quickly concerned that this would lead to men falsely being identified based on unjust racial profiling.

This is why Bains' message of unity is so important, and why he stressed it was important not to suspect people of wrongdoing "because of their look or faith."

"I know that we're all strongest as a nation when we stand together in the face of violence that is intended to divide us," he added, which is why it's also important for police to build trust among minority communities in hopes of everyone working together instead of against each other.

This has been a long struggle minorities have had with police that seems to have heightened this summer. "There must be a dialogue," Sgt. David Davis of the Black Police Association told NBC's Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate in July, recalling the James Harper shooting. Harper was a black Dallas resident who was shot by police in the summer of 2012. He was unarmed.

"I think both sides really need to take a look in the mirror and listen and identify the issues each has with the other."

[h/t The Huffington Post]