FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A Sikh man waiting for a plane at Fresno Yosemite International Airport has been stabbed in a seemingly unprovoked attack. Police say 26-year-old Mitchell Dufur stabbed the victim in the upper torso Sunday evening. No words were exchanged before the attack.
Dufur was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a knife in an airport. Lt. Don Gross says investigators have not determined whether it was a hate crime because Dufur has given no indication about his motive.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the FBI and police Monday to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.
“Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims,” said Sacramento CAIR Executive Director Basim Elkarra.
Sikhism developed in the Punjab region of northern India. Sikhs in the U.S. have occasionally been the target of anti-Muslim sentiment because they wear turbans and beards.