Posted 9 months ago on Aug. 6, 2012, 10:09 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Sikh Temple Shooter Part of Growing Trend of Anti-Sikh Violence
Monday, 06 August 2012 13:10 By Annie-Rose Strasser, ThinkProgress | Report
Several reports out this morning indicate that Wade Michael Page, the army veteran who is suspected of killing six and injuring three at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI, over the weekend, was a white supremacist and a "skinhead." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Page — who was killed in a firefight with police — even played in a white-power band that had ties to neo-Nazis.
Though police have not yet named a motive in the attack, all but one of those shot were Sikh adherents. The other was a police officer. Should law enforcement confirm Page's ties to white supremacy, and if that proves to be the motive of the attack, it will fit with a growing trend in this country. Hate groups — groups that expressly advocate against a religion, race, or sexual orientation — have been on the rise in the United States, rising steadily since 2000.
And the targeting of Sikhs is not new either. Often, the hate crimes against Sikhs originate out of misdirected Islamophobia: Sikh men can most easily be identified by their long beards and turbans, which they wear according to religious doctrine. Assailants will mistake these men for Muslims. According to a report by Reuters, Sikh groups have seen huge spikes in hate crimes since September 11th, 2001, right at the same time when anti-Muslim sentiment in the country began to grow rapidly.
In April of this year, over 90 members of Congress signed onto a letter (PDF) asking Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller to closely monitor what they called a "growing concern" of hate crimes against Sikh people:
"Numerous reports have documented how those practicing the Sikh religion are often targeted for hate violence because of their religiously-mandated turbans — i.e. because of their Sikh identity, regardless of whether the attacker understands the victim to be Sikh or not," the said lawmakers, led by U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat.
Though it is the fifth largest religion in the world, Sikhism is a small religious minority in the United States — there are roughly 500,000 observers of the religion, which originated in the Punjab area of South Asia, in the US. There has only been one Sikh member of Congress — Dalip Singh Saund, who represented Southern California in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Update: In a press conference today, Oak Creek law enforcement confirmed that the gunman's weapon, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, was obtained legally.
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
Gunman Kills Six at a Sikh Temple Near Milwaukee
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:27 By Steven Yaccino, Marc Santora and Michael Schwirtz, New York Times News Service | Report
OAK CREEK, Wis. — The priests had gathered in the lobby of the sprawling Sikh temple here in suburban Milwaukee, and lunch was being prepared as congregants were arriving for Sunday services. Instead of worshipers, though, an armed man stepped through the door and started firing.
In an attack that the police said they were treating as "a domestic terrorist-type incident," the gunman stalked through the temple around 10:30 a.m. Congregants ran for shelter and barricaded themselves in bathrooms and prayer halls, where they made desperate phone calls and sent anguished texts pleading for help as confusion and fear took hold. Witnesses described a scene of chaos and carnage.
Emails From ALEC Member Russell Pearce Show Anti-Immigrant Law May Have Been Racially Motivated
Monday, 06 August 2012 11:01 By Laura Steigerwald, PR Watch | Report
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona has asked the man behind the "show me your papers" anti-immigrant law in that state to show them his emails. An open records request to former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce netted thousands of email records sent from Pearce's account that suggest Arizona's SB 1070, which was taken up as an American Legislative Exchange Council "model bill" but recently struck down in large part by the U.S. Supreme Court, was motivated by racism and xenophobia. Russell Pearce email "We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico's poor, the world's poor and we watch our country sink," reads one email obtained through the open records request. "They create enclaves of separate groups that shall balkanize our nation into fractured nightmares of social unrest and poverty," reads another of the emails, which appear to have been sent to and from Pearce himself.
Congressional Probe Reveals Cover-Up of "Auschwitz-Like" Conditions at US-Funded Afghan Hospital
Monday, 06 August 2012 11:54 By Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy NOW! | Video
NERMEEN SHAIKH: A congressional investigation has revealed a top U.S. general in Afghanistan sought to stall an investigation into abuse at a U.S.-funded hospital in Kabul that kept patients in, quote, "Auschwitz-like" conditions. Army whistleblowers revealed photographs taken in 2010 which show severely neglected, starving patients at Dawood Hospital, considered the crown jewel of the Afghan medical system, where the country's military personnel are treated. The photos show severely emaciated patients, some suffering from gangrene and maggot-infested wounds. For TV viewers of Democracy Now!, please be warned: these images are extremely graphic and may be disturbing.
The general accused of the cover-up is William Caldwell, one of the nation's highest-ranking commanders in Afghanistan, who served as the commander of the $11.2-billion-a-year Afghan training program. Testifying before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week, one of the whistleblowers, Colonel Mark Fassl, the former inspector general for the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, explained General Caldwell's response to the initial call for an inquiry into what was happening at the hospital in Kabul.