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Sikh Temple Shooter Part of Growing Trend of Anti-Sikh Violence

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, corruption, crime, culture, death, education, family, freedoms, law, media, police, politics, religion, rights, safety, society, violence )

- 2116 days ago -
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. Often, the hate crimes against Sikhs originate out of misdirected Islamophobia-->

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 6, 2012, 4:36 pm
(Photo of two Sikh men at scene of shooting)

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.

By Annie-Rose Strasser, ThinkProgress | Report | Truthout |

Kit B (276)
Monday August 6, 2012, 4:41 pm

I did not post this tragic story to revel in the violence, rather to remind us all that any discussions of THEM -v- US, can lead to death and violence. There is nothing that can or should be glorified in this or any brutal attack against a group of people that celebrate their belief in god in a way that may be foreign or different than the American Christian standard.

I feel sad and drained by the constant attacks and horrors of groups wanting to kill other groups. Why? What is so difficult about acceptance?

Vicky P (476)
Monday August 6, 2012, 5:18 pm
I don't understand the intolerance..North America is multicultural and will remain like that, going around and shooting people is just going to create tension between people and will do nothing to benefit anyone..sigh

pam w (139)
Monday August 6, 2012, 6:44 pm
We're a tribal species, Kit. It's our "blessing" and our "curse." And the more of us there are....the more tribal tensions escalate.

Carrie B (306)
Monday August 6, 2012, 6:59 pm
I think it is more a case of intolerance and bigotry which is being exploited in our politics and some religions.

Kathy B (106)
Monday August 6, 2012, 9:03 pm
I don't get racism & bigotry, never have. Acceptance takes much less energy than hate.

From what I've read today, I'll take a wild guess and say the shooter wasn't tightly wrapped. Who in their right mind could kill in such a brutal manner? Politics may have fueled his particular demon, or maybe drugs or some combination of the two.


Penelope P (222)
Monday August 6, 2012, 10:06 pm
The money goes down the hategoes up

Kenneth L (314)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 1:55 am
Sikhs are often confused for Muslims by racists. Actually they're more connected with Hinduism. And in the first two world wars something like 100,000 Sikhs fought in the Allied forces. In fact, per capita, they received more medals than any other group.
It takes a real coward to go into a church and shoot unarmed innocent civilians.
From what I've read so far the shooter was a Neo-Nazi. If it isn't blaming Jews, it's blaming 'turbaned, funny clothes' people for the ills of the world.

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 9:09 am
This is so sad and so stupid - all people want basically the same things: love, some security, a little happiness. Our differences are so minor - what kind of brain dead moron can't see that?

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 11:37 am

First we all just human beings. How we chose to dress, what religion we adopt or make the choice to associate with, even the color of our skin, does not change the essential fact that we are all the same. Every person on this planet has some very basic needs, to have food, shelter and a means to provide those things. I absolutely believe that each of us wants to love and cherish life, our family and friends, we want peace and the freedom to move about in our daily lives with out fear.

These Neo-Nazi groups looks for the outcasts of society. Though more often then not being an outcast is a personal choice. Just as hate, racism and bigotry are personal choices.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 12:24 pm
Hate and sickness has been growing FAST since 2000. It is NOT just directed at humans,, animal cruelty is at an all time high,, I recently donated to a puppy in Chicago that has acid thrown on him AFTER he was beaten. This one made it. Where has our humanity, compassion, & empathy gone to? Thank you Kit

. (0)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 1:44 pm
When there are problems people all too often look for someone to blame, not always the most helpful thing to do. When a whole country is affected people look to blame a group, it is easy to blame a group that can be identified because of the way its' members look (Hitler made Jews wear the Star of David for instance), Sikhs are already easy to identify because of their dress. This can be a useful way of deflecting attention away from those who are really to blame. Exactly who is to blame for the current world crisis, and the increase in fodd prices which will almost certainly follow the crop failures in the US, is a matter of speculation but there is one thing for sure, whoever it is it is not the Sikhs, the Jews, the blacks or any other group that can be identified because of the way they look. It is instead those who faces are all too rarely seen and those who far too rarely get called to account for what they have done.

Tuesday August 7, 2012, 2:52 pm
Phobias, mobias, its really just plain old ignorant hate, that stems from a lack of common sense!!!

Rosie Lopez (73)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 3:37 pm
yes ignorance runs deep!!

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 3:49 pm
Agree with other comments,, but throwing in that those who do these cowardly things are nothing but cowards,, looking to take out their own failures and frustrations on others who are unable to defend themselves.

Eternal Gardener (745)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 4:12 pm
You can thank Bush for that! Utter disgrace!

. (0)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 4:16 pm
What did the Sikhs ever do to this guy? This is always the problem with the sociopath/psycopath - instead of shooting the real person perceived to be the root of their suffering, denial and just plain boo hooness they end up shooting innocent surrogates. Why? Because they are cowards who don't have the moxy to confront their "tormentor" and have to use surrogates to build up to confronting their real boogey person.

Vallee R (280)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 5:31 pm
All I can say is another "false flag" to take our guns away!!!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 11:21 pm
Bloody wrong

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 2:18 am
Racists plus guns is a deadly combination.

Elaya Raja (39)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 2:27 am
disturbing trends..

. (0)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 7:35 am
As a rule, Sikhs are gentle, law-abiding folks who do no harm. To attack them for no reason is unconscionable.

Kerrie G (116)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 7:43 am
Noted, thanks.

. (0)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 10:56 am
As a white supremacist, I do believe Page was looking to kill Muslims (hence the 9/11 tattoo). Not being too bright, he probably/possible thought these people were Muslin, not Sikh.
How much do you want to bet he had no idea who the Sikhs are.

Lynne Buckley (0)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 12:38 pm
Very disturbing. There is no excuse for this kind of attack.

Michael M (5)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 12:53 pm
Ignorance is part of the problem. We have presidential candidates like Mittens who have NO IDEA who or what Sikhs are and so-called "news" groups who continue to LIE about who and what Sikhs are.

I am not going to even mention RWNJ's who confuse the Sikh religion with the Muslims.


Linda h (86)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 1:44 pm
This is the result of letting people push hate and never face responsibility for what they do. I have family that are Sikh. I am very tired of constantly being frightened of Teabaggers and their money grubbing book promoters for walking down my own street with my family. The hate messages will go back up on the city buses for this upcoming 9/11. Some judge ruled they had to allow them to be put up. I want these idiots put in prison for encouraging murder. I just reread what I wrote and yes, I think right this minute I wish that judge was in jail too.

Sandra S (39)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 1:44 pm
Kenneth L.: "Actually they're more connected with Hinduism." Sikhs are monotheistic, Hindus are polytheistic. There are few similarities other than they both originated in India. In some ways, it has more similarities with Christianity.

Michael M., Romney mispronounced Sikh, he did not confuse them with Muslims.

David C (131)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 2:19 pm
very sad story and very sad how little coverage our mainstream media has spent on this compared to stores of similar magnitude....

Sandra S (39)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 2:42 pm
Linda H., I'm so sorry about the hateful attitudes of those Tea Partiers. Please don't lump them with other Tea Partiers. There is ignorance & hate displayed by people in all walks of life sadly. There is no excuse, even ignorance, with this kind of behavior based on what you are telling us. Not knowing what the books are they're promoting or what the signs say, I can't directly comment on. Advocating murder?

Kit B (276)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 7:37 pm

This man Page, is directly connected to one of many Neo-Nazi groups and to the best of my knowledge is not connected with either the republican/tea party nor the democrats. He is a member of a skin-head group that misuses both Christian ideas and any form of normal thinking. There is no rational thinking behind an act such as this, and no excuse that it was a mistake as he was hoping to kill Muslims. That is supposed to be a justification for murder?

Sikh's are from the Punjab area of India but also have a large diaspora.

Sikhism can be considered one of the more universal religions. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib, in addition to the revelations of the Sikh gurus, contains revelations of various saints and sages of that period. The opening hymn of the holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib expounds the nature and attributes of God:

“ There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; immanent in all things; creator of all things; imminent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace. ”

Sikhs are not required to renounce the world.[30] They aspire to live the life of a householder. Seva (selfless service) is an integral part of Sikh worship, observed in the Gurdwara. Visitors of any religious or socio-economic background are welcomed, where langar (food for all) is always served to people of all origins, the same (vegetarian) food, while sitting together on the same level of the floor.
From Wiki


Gloria H (88)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 11:38 pm
Small wonder the no class Aryan Nation (aka KKK) would be acting out on hatred when the upper class Republican suits go after gays and women with verbal hatred. Monkey see, monkey do.

Linda h (86)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 1:00 am
After the last couple weeks with Bachmann and her dwarfs cranking up the hate machine I hope Switzerland denies her citizenship because of her long career of criminal agitation and prejudice. What a fine patriot, she can't leave fast enough for me. She still will be collecting her taxpayer monies though along with all the cash her supporters mail her. I heard her brag that last month after her horrible lies she had one of her best hauls ever.I really don't think this monster Page cared about what religion these people were. They were just not white to him.This is Ayn Rand admirer Paul Ryan's district BTW.

berny p (23)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 3:47 am

According to NCTC, of the 12,533 terrorism-related deaths worldwide, 8,886 were perpetrated by “Sunni extremists,” 1,926 by “secular/political/anarchist” groups, 1,519 by “unknown” factions, 170 by a category described as “other”, and 77 by “Neo-Nazi/Fascist/White Supremacist” groups.

Kit B (276)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 6:39 am

And... that little list of statistics means what? That some extremists use bombs while others use bullet? Maybe the Neo-Nazi would rather kill up close and personal.

Sandra S (39)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 9:43 am
Linda H. "After the last couple weeks with Bachmann and her dwarfs cranking up the hate machine I hope Switzerland denies her citizenship because of her long career of criminal agitation and prejudice."

Pot calling kettle black? Your Sikh relatives' religion hasn't rubbed off on you, has it. And to somehow try to connect Paul Ryan with that monster (I agree with you on that point)Page? Give YOUR hate a rest.

SuSanne P (193)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 11:02 pm
OMG Kit, this has my Heart crying. "There were so many things I wanted to share but currently all I can think of is "...he probably/possible thought these people were Muslim." Thanks to you for such an informative History lesson Kit, in your... Wednesday August 8, 2012, 7:37 pm post.

Kenneth L (314)
Friday August 10, 2012, 1:02 am
Sandra, I said "More connected with Hinduism"... than with Muslims, since you're running around opinionating and correcting everyone.


"Historians say that Sikhs and Hindus have intermarried since Guru Nanak's time. The Hindus accepted the marriages because Sikhism was considered a part of Hinduism, and marriages for Sikhs were performed by the Hindu priests, until the beginning of the 20th century. All these show that the essence of Sikhism is closely related to Hinduism. This is however, not to suggest that Sikhism and Hinduism are one and the same religion, or Sikhism is not distinct from Hinduism."

And no, I don't want to get into some turgid discussion about it.

Kenneth L (314)
Friday August 10, 2012, 1:19 am
From the same link: "Hindus say that the Sikh guru Gobind Singh gave his followers a distinct militant identity by ordering them to wear the five Ks - kesh, kangha, kara, kachcha and kirpan - to protect Hindus from the tyranny of the Mughals. Thus Hindus and Sikhs are one and the same - socially as well as religiously. While this is a moot point, it's hard to ignore the similarities between Hinduism and Sikhism.

Similarities between Sikhs and Hindus are evident in practices and rituals of the Sikh Gurus. The Sikhs celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The surname 'Singh' is also found among the Rajputs, a martial Hindu race. It is argued that the Sikh Kirpan or dagger has been adopted from the martial tradition of the Rajputs carrying the Katar. It's also evident that the turban is a common headdress of the Indians and is not exclusively Sikh, and the concept of uncut hair was introduced by the Tenth Guru and not before."

Sandra S (39)
Friday August 10, 2012, 6:11 am
Kenneth L., that's an odd accusation that I am running around opinionating & correcting everyone. Rather extreme. This is a place to express opinions and I see that you have no trouble voicing your opinion and making corrections. Is this only a one-sided discussion? The history lesson was quite unnecessary since I've read up on Sikhism, too. Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant to be saying in your one sentence comment. For that, and that alone, I apologize.

Kit B (276)
Friday August 10, 2012, 7:30 am

I think this is a discussion about the Sikh community, about a tragedy in Wisconsin, about the radical and perverted thinking of any and all groups that follow a message of or about White Supremacy and so-called Christian values. Christians do not murder to advance their belief system. Neo-Nazis are terrorist, home grown in United States. This not about Left or Right politics, or most assuredly should not be, but how we as a nation can work together to learn more about the Sikh community. With knowledge comes less curiosity and more acceptance.

I too have been learning more about many religions and the cultures the people from across the world bring with them to the United States. Each of these newer cultures enrich our own. I thank you Kenneth, each new bit of information added is not an insult rather an effort to share in our knowledge base.

Roni Jo Patterson (4)
Friday August 10, 2012, 8:30 pm
I am fed up with tbaggers, the ultra-rich, and similar filth. Personally, I am not afraid of any of them, and I refuse to back down. Val R., keep your damn precious guns.

Sandra S (39)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 6:40 am
Sikhs have a proud tradition that begins in India
Faith that lost members in a Milwaukee shooting emphasizes one god, community service and charity.
AP, 10 Aug 12
The Sikh faith has roughly 27 million followers worldwide, and the vast majority live in India. Here are some answers about the religion.
Q: Q. What has been the reaction in India to the shooting Sunday at a U.S. temple outside Milwaukee, where a half-dozen people died?
A: A. Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Sikhs’ highest-ranking priest, called the shooting a “security lapse” by the U.S. government and called on worshippers in the United States to adopt all possible security measures at their temples, including closed-circuit cameras. A Sikh delegation was being sent to Wisconsin to check on the investigation and another was being sent to New Delhi to talk with Indian and U.S. officials to ensure there would be no repeat of the violent attack.
Q: How did the Sikh religion begin?
A: It was founded in 1469 by Guru Nanak, who preached monotheism and equality, in reaction to the Hindu caste system. After fights with India’s Muslim Mogul rulers, the religion grew more militant. The 10th and final founding leader, Guru Gobind Singh, commanded Sikhs to carry a kirpan, or curved ceremonial dagger.
The faith currently emphasizes living honestly, giving to charity and serving the community.
Q: What is the Sikhs’ historical role in India?
A: Sikhs at one point controlled a powerful kingdom in what is today western India and parts of Pakistan. The British captured it in a bloody war in 1849. Around that time, the British army formed a Sikh regiment that still exists in the Indian military. Though Sikhs comprise about 2 percent of India’s population, they make up a far higher percentage of the military.
Q: What are the customs of their faith?
A: Besides carrying the kirpan, traditional Sikh men don’t cut their beards or their hair. Most cover their heads in yards of cloth elaborately wrapped into a turban. Sikh men all take the name Singh, meaning lion. The religion’s holiest site is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is surrounded by a lake.
Q: Has there been tension with India’s government?
A: Sikhs complained of discrimination after the nation achieved independence in 1947, and militant factions grew in power. In 1984, Sikh militants demanding the formation of a new nation of Khalistan holed up in the Golden Temple before being forced out by Indian forces with tanks; about 1,200 people died, mostly Sikhs. Several months later, two Sikh security guards for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi shot and killed her in retaliation, prompting bloody anti-Sikh riots across Delhi and other cities. The Sikh uprising was crushed in much-criticized police actions across Punjab in the 1990s.
Q: What is their current role?
A: Sikhs hold some of India’s most important positions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Army Chief Gen. Bikram Singh, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, head of the financially powerful planning commission, are all Sikh. They are a majority in the agriculturally crucial province of Punjab, known as the breadbasket of India, which is currently ruled by the Sikh-dominated Akali Dal party. Their temples, or gurdwaras, often run free kitchens giving food to all comers. They are sometimes found on street corners during hot summer months, handing out cool drinks with ice, milk and rosewater to passing drivers.

Sandra S (39)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 7:04 am
Hinduism vs Sikhism, Similarities and Differences

Islam vs Sikhism, Comparison

Linda h (86)
Thursday August 16, 2012, 2:22 pm
Sandra S., I've waited awhile to respond to you. If you really do live where say you do and you really are who you say you are then you most likely have no idea how I feel about keeping my children and grandchildren safe from the hate your teaparty pushes and supports. Maybe you should try taking a walk holding the hand of a dark child down a crowded city street lined with screaming idiots holding cruel signs who can't tell the difference between a Puerto Rican construction worker, two sadly deluded Egyptian Christian tea party supporters and what ever it is they think is a Muslim to get that child home from school. Please refer to my photo to see the Jews and Christians who came out in support of religious freedom the last time the right started up the Hate Americans Who Look Different Than You Do Machine in NYC. I'm not surprised you don't want anyone to think about which district this happened in or who said what about Muslims. You have a lot to learn about Sikhs and I encourage you to keep finding more information. Why not go talk to one? Try talking to a Muslim while you are at it or an Episcopalian even. I know and admire plenty of those too. I don't appreciate you telling me anything about what I need to do or not do and I don't want a dialogue with you over this either. I do feel a little sorry for you though because you have such a poor ability to empathize with other humans as do most teabaggers. I hope you improve but I wouldn't take a bet on it.

Linda h (86)
Thursday August 16, 2012, 2:29 pm
For those who are curious about this subject from a good Sikh writer. Here is something from the Washington Post.
I'm not great at making these links work and so I if you need to you can look it up at the Washington Post..
Sikhs’ inclusiveness is lesson in fighting bigotry
By Arjun Sethi, Published: August 8

Sandra S (39)
Thursday August 16, 2012, 3:05 pm
Linda, I was trying to be sympathetic until you blasted all Tea Partiers as hateful and were name calling. I never argued with what you said was being done by ignorant people. I wasn't there, but I assumed you were being very truthful. As you don't know if I'm who I say I am, the reverse is equally true. I have no idea where the h-ll you came up with all you've just said about what I posted. Save your misplaced sympathy for someone who needs it. I don't appreciate your attitude towards ME either. Btw I'm Episcopalian and I've known & talked with Muslim officers (& their families) who attended the Command and General Staff College. How did you ever gather that I'm unsympathetic with Sikhs? Just because I didn't paint all Tea Partiers with a broad brush as being all the same and objected to nasty name calling applied to all of them??? We have a Sikh community here and they have a lot more love & forgiveness in their souls despite the horrible tragedies inflicted on them than you appear to have towards all others who you don’t agree with politically. I do not agree with what you say those Tea Partiers are doing, have done, have said & are saying, but you blame them ALL for what you say SOME have done. Sad.

Sandra S (39)
Thursday August 16, 2012, 3:25 pm
Linda, Good article. Why you think that I would argue with what he says is beyond me.

joravaar s. (0)
Wednesday June 12, 2013, 12:45 am
Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere
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