First, Hate Crime Victim In The US After 9/11: Respecting Diversity Will Be A Big Honour To Balbir, Says Brother

Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first casualty of hate following the 9/11 terror attacks, shall be honoured by appreciating individuals of all colours, creeds, and genders, according to his brother. As the world remembers the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people from more than 90 countries, Rana Singh Sodhi reflected on the tragic event that beset his family just days after the attacks in the United States, when Sikhs began to be meted out for their presence.

In a video message released by the National Sikh Campaign, he added, "He equated our turban with those Taliban and fired and killed my brother."

According to the Sikh Coalition, Sodhi was “planting flowers outside his petrol station in Mesa on September 15, 2001, when he was gunned down by a guy allegedly seeking retaliation for the terrorist atrocities four days earlier.”

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According to the report, Sodhi's death was the first recorded fatal hate crime since 9/11. Frank Roque, the assassin of Sodhi, is currently receiving a life sentence in prison.

On the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Rana Singh Sodhi recalls getting a phone call from his brother telling him to turn on the TV and watch the news. “Here, our country was attacked. On the same day, I believe they started displaying (Osama) bin Laden photographs on TV,” he added, adding that he had never been concerned about his safety before 9/11.

People began “yelling at us ‘Go back to your country” and shouting expletives after the terror strikes, he claimed. Rana Singh Sodhi said he received a call from one of the employees the day his brother was shot regarding a shooting. "I've been trying to get in touch with my brother but he didn't respond, then I discovered out he was shot." He added that the killer was arrested and jailed within 24 hours. He said his family received justice.

“Justice has a big influence.” The Sikhs' beliefs and the United States' values are strikingly similar and linked." "As Sikhs, we have a history of standing up to tyranny right in front of our eyes," he said, adding that "America will always pursue justice."

“We are all equal – colour, race, and gender,” Rana Singh Sodhi added. It will be a great privilege to my brother if you love your neighbours if you appreciate individuals of all colours, creeds, and genders.”

Every year on the anniversary of Balbir's death, his family members meet at the gas station where he was killed to commemorate and honour him, according to Rana Singh Sodhi. On this crucial anniversary, they will welcome a larger group of people, “so that we may pay homage to all those who have been injured by hate and also share the encouragement and care that my family has experienced for 20 years with the countrywide Sangat,” he said in a statement released by the Sikh Coalition.