More than a dozen people stood outside the Hyatt hotel in downtown Sacramento Tuesday to show support for victims of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting.
Kazman Zaidi, president of the National Taxi Cab Union, the host for the rally, said he wanted to give the public a chance to stand together.
One of the cab drivers present, Harbhajan Singh, was the victim of a hate-crime assault in November 2010 in Sacramento. The man convicted of the crime received 13 years in state prison in June last year after admitting to the attack.
"People look and think 'Oh, he has a towel on his head, he must be just like Osama Bin Laden,'" Singh said, pointing to his turban. He said that after 9/11, members of the Sikh community suffered harassment from confusion for being Muslim.
Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, likened the misidentification problems to those that occurred in America after Pearl Harbor, saying that Chinese and Japanese people were accused of committing crimes they had no role in.
"The same is going on in the Muslim and Sikh community," she said.
Mohamed Ali, chapter coordinator for the Sacramento Valley Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the council is standing in solidarity with the Sikh community.
"The prayers of the Muslim community will go out to the victims during this month of Ramadan," Ali said.
"It's just shocking that in 2012 we still have this kind of intolerance," said Matthew Roy, a lawyer showing his support. Roy said that legal punishment isn't a suitable deterrent for these kinds of attacks.
"Instead," he said, "people need to learn to empathize with those are unlike themselves."
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