An Indian businessman was shot dead last Thursday night in South Carolina the latest in a string of hate crimes against individuals deemed to be immigrants or mistaken for Muslims by right-wing extremists around the United States.
Harnish Patel, who originally immigrated to the U.S. from India 14 years ago, and ran a local convenient store in the town of Lancaster, was shot and killed near his home after he had closed his store for the evening.
Lancaster police are still investigating the motive but did say that it does appear to be “racially motivated.”
Just two weeks ago two Indian men in Kansas were the victims of a racially motivated shooting, leaving one dead and one seriously wounded. Last week, the same week as the Patel murder, a Sikh man of Indian origin was shot outside of his home near Seattle. In both cases, the shooter yelled to the victims to “go back to your country.”
On Monday, President Trump signed his new executive order that bans immigration from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the US, a move that will only spark more hate crimes against Muslim Americans or those Americans such as Patel who look ‘Muslim’.
Right-wing extremists, who believe it is now open season on Muslims living inside the US, are unwilling to acknowledge that Muslims come in all skin tones and that not everyone with light brown skin practices Islam.
President Trump did finally condemn the shooting of the two men in Kansas – a week later – but has done nothing to actually alleviate the hate and bigotry brought on by his administration’s actions.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.