Justice

This Alleged Hate Crime Shows Islamophobia Doesn't Only Hurt Muslims

February 24th 2017

By:
Almie Rose

Violence erupted in a bar just outside Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday when a 51-year-old man opened fire and shot three men, killing one of them. It's believed the suspect, Adam Purinton, shot two of the men — both born in India — because he thought they were Muslim, allegedly shouting "get out of my country" before firing.

According to The Kansas City Star, the victims are Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and Alok Madasani, 32. Kuchibhotla died in the hospital later on Wednesday, while Madasani was "critically injured," according to the GoFundMe page set up to help pay for his hospital bills.

The third man shot was Ian Grillot, 24, a white bystander who tried to stop the shooting, according to BuzzFeed. Grillot is recovering after being shot in the hand and shoulder, BuzzFeed reports.

It's believed Purinton thought he was killing Middle Eastern men because, according to The Kansas City Star, five hours after the shooting Purinton holed up in an Applebee's and told the bartender working there that he "needed a place to hide out because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men."

BuzzFeed reported on Thursday that the FBI joined the case to determine if Purinton committed a hate crime. For now, Purinton is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

There's been a rise in crimes against South Asians in the United States, particularly Indians.

Hate crimes rose after the 9/11 attacks, with Sikh men being targeted under the belief they were Muslim, according to a 2016 CNN report. As activist and writer Simran Jeet Singh put it, "Islamophobia doesn't just hurt Muslims. Hate hurts us all."

 

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) recently released a report, "Power, Pain, Potential: South Asian Americans at the Forefront of Growth and Hate in the 2016 Election Cycle," that takes a detailed look at the rise in hatred against South Asian Americans. Some statistics from the report:

  • "207 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in one year." 
  • That is an increase of 34 percent "in less than a third of the time covered in our 2014 report."
  • "The 2015 FBI Hate Crime Statistics show not only a 7 percent increase in hate crimes overall, but a disturbing 67% increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims." 

To quote Singh again, "To those who claim 'All Lives Matter' — Where's your outrage about this Indian immigrant murdered in a hate crime?"