Around 40 members of the Indian and Sikh communities here have asked for more representation in the administration of Jersey City in New Jersey state.
They met city council members at a special meeting on Wednesday and said they believed that two recent attacks on Sikhs were hate crimes, The Star Ledger reported on Thursday.
Sunny Kumar, 33, a member of Nanak Naam Jahaj Gurudwara temple on West Side Avenue in the city, said a Sikh man was abused on February 15 with "Osama go back home... You don't belong here" during a dispute over snow shovelling.
He said part of the man's beard was torn out, he was kicked in the stomach, beaten with a shovel and had bruises on his chest.
He had to be admitted to Jersey City Medical Centre.
Kumar said two Sikh men with beards and wearing turbans, who were walking on Liberty Avenue near Spruce Street were assaulted for no reason other than "the way they looked" in January.
In the incident, one man suffered a broken wrist and the other suffered facial bruises.
"People associate Sikhs with terrorists because of the turban and beards," said Kumar. "It's like calling a horse a donkey."
The members of the Indian and Sikh communities were, however, disappointed as Mayor Steven Fulop did not attend the meeting.
The Sikhs said they would like to participate in more cross-cultural events to increase awareness of their culture.
The members also a suggested that Sikh history and culture be included in school curriculums.