'We can open up closed minds:’ 13-year-old hate crime victim inspires peace rally in Hicksville

A 13-year-old Syosset teen joined others for a peace rally Saturday after he was the victim of a hate crime last month.

News 12 Staff

Jun 26, 2021, 9:30 PM

Updated 1,029 days ago

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A 13-year-old Syosset teen joined others for a peace rally Saturday after he was the victim of a hate crime last month.
Chaz Bedi says he's been teased before about his Sikh turban. However, he says he was physically attacked by some other teens who were following him at the Walt Whitman Mall last month.
“One of the kids in the group who called me ‘Mohamed’ before runs up to me and punches me in the face without warning,” he says.
Nassau police later arrested the teen suspect and charged him with aggravated harassment.
Chaz and held a peace rally in Hicksville on Saturday with members of other religious and ethnic groups to end the hate.
“Us together with strength, we can open up closed minds with peace, love and unity, we all can make a difference in our world today,” Chaz says.
The rally comes as there is a growing tide of assaults against ethnic minorities across the country, including members of the South Asian community.
“Our strength lies in our diversity— the fact that everyone is different is what makes us great, but there is so much more that we have in common,” says Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
Chaz says he hopes other young people like the teen who allegedly assaulted him would actually come to an event like this so they could learn about other people and cultures.
“It would be way better if he actually educated himself on other cultures and minorities,” he says.
Chaz's father, Satbir Singh, says he was crushed that his son was the victim of a hate crime. He adds he's proud of him for standing up and saying that this is not acceptable, and that we as a people need to come together.
“I am taking this as a positive…God has given us an opportunity to speak out and say love and unity and learn,” Singh says.
Nassau police have not released the name of the boy charged because he is 13 years old.



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