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Man arrested in hate crime attack on Sikh teen

Police have arrested a suspect and charged him with hate crime assault after a Sikh teenager was attacked while riding an MTA bus in Queens, New York.

According to ABC 7 New York, 26-year-old Christopher Philippeaux was arrested Thursday. He is accused of attacking the Sikh teen on a shuttle bus near 118th Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill.

Philippeaux allegedly commented on the 19-year-old’s turban, saying, “We don’t wear that in this country.”

The victim moved toward the back of the bus but Philippeaux allegedly followed him, Audacy reports. He then allegedly punched the victim repeatedly and attempted to remove his turban.

Sikh leaders like Harpreet Singh Toor have grown concerned about a potential increase in anti-Sikh violence because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Toor, the former president of the Sikh Cultural Society, spoke to NBC News about the attack in Queens.

“Why target us,” he asked. “Just because we follow our faith? And we keep our articles of faith? Just because of that?”

MTA leaders have condemned the assault.

“I watched the video and I was angry, I was outraged, and just moved by what happened to the victim,” Shanifah Rieara, MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer told ABC 7 New York. “New York City is a melting pot and it’s from my understanding that this gentleman has only been here for about a year, and this is not how we welcome people to our city.”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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