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KNAU and Arizona News

AZ Entrepreneur Remembered As First Post-9/11 Bias Attack Victim


An Arizona man is being remembered as the first person to die in post-9/11 bias attacks, which began after hijackers crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot and killed at a gas station in Phoenix by a man seeking to avenge the 9/11 attacks. Sodhi, a Sikh  business entrepreneur from Mesa, was helping plant a flower bed at the time. His killer mistook him for an Arab Muslim because he wore a turban and beard. Sodhi was remembered this week in a memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Faith leaders say the terror attacks released a dangerous wave of white supremacy and Islamophobia. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hate crimes against U.S. Muslims spiked and have remained high ever since.