Marion County Judge Lindsay Partridge approached dealing with anti-religious violence in a unique way. “Bigotry is the result of ignorance,” Partridge said at the sentencing of Andrew Ramsey, 25.
Ramsey was arrested January 14 at the shop owned by Sikh Harwinder Singh Dodd after assaulting Dodd and trying to rip off his turban. In addition to having to serve 180 days in jail and three years’ probation, Ramsey was ordered to attend a Sikh festival and submit a report to the court about the religion. “All of us are able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community,” Judge Partridge said at Ramsey’s sentencing.
According to the Sikh Coalition, the nation’s largest Sikh civil rights organization, in their press release on this decision, Sikhs in America remain hundreds of times more likely to experience bigotry, bias or backlash than the average American. The organization, which has provided Mr. Dodd with free legal counsel since January, averages approximately one hate-related legal case a month across the United States.
“All of us are able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community.”
“Just last year, the FBI’s annual hate crime report showed hate crimes increased by more than 40 percent in Oregon in one year,” it states. In May 2018, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum established a special task force designed to explore ways to improve measures to combat and prevent hate, and recently, Senate Bill 577 was introduced to strengthen the state’s laws against hate crimes.
“The court sent a clear message that what Mr. Ramsey did to me will not be accepted,” said Mr. Dodd. “Hate violence impacts the entire community, and this decision reinforces why Oregon remains a welcoming place for diverse communities and faiths.”
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.