Statement by DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) on Wisconsin Gurudwara Shootings‏

Unity and Accountability in the Wake of the Wisconsin Gurudwara Shootings

The members of DRUM-Desis Rising Up & Moving express our deepest sympathy and solidarity with our sisters and brothers of the Sikh community after Sunday’s shootings in the Oak Creek Gurudwara in Wisconsin. The shootings have been followed closely by an arson that burned down a mosque in Joplin, Missouri.

While the shootings have shocked us all, it is unfortunately part of a history of targeting of communities of color that all too often goes unchecked and remains rooted in a national climate bolstered by state policies. This climate of racism and intolerance targeting Sikhs, South Asians, Muslims, Arabs, and Middle Easterners, particularly since 9/11, has been fueled by frequent media distortions, governmental policies of racial and religious profiling, and the rise in hate groups. Yet, the media and public discourse mistakenly puts the Sikh and other religions on the hot seat rather than the vast network of organized hate groups whose impacts have been severe-from attacks on Sikhs and Muslims to crafting of anti-people of color and anti-immigrant legislation like SB1070 in Arizona.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has stated that it had been monitoring the alleged gunman, Wade Michael Page, for over 10 years for his ties to white supremacist groups, attempts to purchase weapons from them, and use of violent lyrics about murdering Jews, black people, gay people, and other communities of color, through his membership in racist skinhead bands. Since the use of racial and religious profiling by law enforcement agencies focuses on identity as a marker of threat, rather than actual acts, (leading to the broad profiling of communities of color, religious minorities, and activist groups), organized white supremacist and hate groups remain largely unchecked. In 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put out a report on the dangers of right-wing extremism in the US, it received severe backlash from many conservative policy makers. As a result of the criticism, the DHS dismantled and cut funding for the intelligence team that monitored such threats. Continue reading

In a growing culture of US xenophobia, arrogance and ignorance, Sikhs killed in Wisconsin

Sikh Temple Massacre Suspect Wade Michael Page Was White Supremacist

Neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page killed seven members of the Sikh religion in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. He was later killed in a clash with local police at the scene. by Pan-African News Wire File Photos

[Neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page killed seven members of the Sikh religion in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012. He was later killed in a clash with local police at the scene. Photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos]

(CBS/AP) OAK CREEK, Wis., August 6, 2012 — Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

When the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee ended, six victims ranging in age from 39 to 84 years old lay dead. Three others were critically wounded, including Oak Creek Police Officer Lt. Brian Murphy.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page’s life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. He left no hate-filled manifesto, no angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.

Page, who was shot to death by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to “reflect what he went out and actually did.” The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native Colorado and started the band End Apathy in 2005. Continue reading

On his visit to India, can Obama ignore Bhagat Singh?

DAWN.com
By Jawed Naqvi
Thursday, 14 Oct, 2010
Whatever the reason for his visit, Obama will be in for a surprise his hosts may not have provisioned for. –File Photo

President Obama is likely to go to the Golden Temple in Amritsar next month. Different reasons are being given for the first visit by an American president to Sikhdom’s holiest shrine.

One version suggests his wife planted the idea. Her uncle had lived in Amritsar as a member of the US Volunteers Corps. A more straightforward explanation is that his host, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, would be pleased by the gesture.

Whatever the reason for the completely agreeable plan, Mr Obama will be in for a surprise his hosts may not have provisioned for. He will find there that high up among the icons that Sikhs deify, as do most Indians, is Bhagat Singh who was hanged for defying British rule in India.

In fact Mr Obama could do a quick headcount of the devotees, if security permits, that would reveal how the 23-year old martyr stands taller in the minds of the people of Amritsar than any other hero of India’s anti-colonial struggle. Continue reading