Sikhs have all the time stood up for justice for everybody and respecting folks of various color, creed and gender will probably be an enormous honour to Balbir Singh Sodhi, the primary sufferer of hate following the 9/11 terror assaults, based on his brother.
Because the world marks the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terror assaults by which practically 3,000 folks from over 90 nations had been killed, Rana Singh Sodhi recalled the tragedy that struck his household simply days after the phobia assaults within the US when Sikh folks started to be focused due to their look.
“My brother, who believed in Sikhism, had a beard and turban on his head. The individual thought he seemed extra like a Taliban. He related our turban with these of the Taliban and shot and killed my brother,” he mentioned in a video message issued by the Nationwide Sikh Marketing campaign.
In a tribute, the Sikh Coalition mentioned that on September 15, 2001, Mr Sodhi “was planting flowers outdoors his gasoline station in Mesa when he was shot and killed by a person supposedly in search of retribution for the terrorist assaults 4 days earlier”.
Mr Sodhi’s dying marked the primary recorded lethal post-9/11 hate crime, it mentioned. His killer Frank Roque is serving life in jail.
Within the video, Rana Singh Sodhi recollects receiving a cellphone name from his brother on the day of the phobia assaults on the World Commerce Centre asking him to activate the TV and see the information.
“Our nation received attacked right here. Identical day, I feel they began exhibiting (Osama) bin Laden photos on the TV,” he mentioned, including that earlier than 9/11, he was by no means involved about his safety.
However after the phobia assaults, folks began “yelling to us ‘Return to the nation” and utilizing expletives, he mentioned.
The day his brother was shot, Rana Singh Sodhi mentioned he received a name from one of many workers a couple of capturing.
“And I referred to as my brother and he did not reply after which I realized he received shot,” he mentioned.
He mentioned his household received justice because the killer was caught inside 24 hours and put behind bars.
“That justice makes plenty of distinction. What we now have as Sikh values and American values, they’re very equal and properly linked to one another. America will all the time stand for justice and we now have a historical past as Sikhs that when you see injustice proper in entrance of your eyes, it is best to rise up,” he mentioned.
Rana Singh Sodhi mentioned: “All of us people are equal – color, creed and gender. To honour my brother, when you love your neighbours, when you respect folks with totally different color, creed and gender, it is going to be an enormous honour to my brother.”
“If you happen to love your neighbours, love all of the folks round you along with your story, along with your love, you’ll be able to change this world,” he added.
Rana Singh Sodhi mentioned that yearly on the day they misplaced Balbir, his relations have been gathering on the gasoline station the place he was killed to recollect and honour him.
This yr, they’ll welcome a wider group of individuals on this vital anniversary, “in order that we will pay tribute to all those that have been damage by hate and likewise share the love and help that my household has felt for 20 years with the nationwide sangat,” he was quoted as saying within the assertion issued by the Sikh Coalition.