Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 23:51 PM EDT, 5 August 2012
Updated 14:20 pm EDT, 6 August 2012:
According to USA Today, the man who fatally shot six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was identified today as Army veteran Wade Michael Page, 40, pictured to the left, who washed out of the military in 1998 after a six-year hitch.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that has studied hate crimes for decades, says on its website that Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy.”
OAK CREEK, Wisconsin – Yesterday, Wade entered a Sikh Temple and open fire on congregants of the 400 member temple, killing 6 people before police shot and killed him. Reportedly the lone gunman also shot a policeman 8 times as he was helping one of the victims who had been attending a birthday party. The police officer is in critical condition but is expected to live. Though it is early in the investigation, authorities have tentatively labeled this as a domestic terrorist hate crime.
Attacks against Sikhs have increased significantly since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attack. Though Sikhs are primarily Indian, because of their habiliment and skin tone, many xenophobes label them as Islamic terrorists. Sikhism was founded in South Asia 16th century in Punjab India. It is a monotheistic faith and has almost 27 million adherents worldwide, with the majority residing in India and about 500,000 live in the United States.
The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Observant Sikh men do not cut their hair or beards which are considered sacred – and instead twist and cover the unshorn locks with turbans, and thus are often mistaken for Muslims.
Though there is no direct link to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, the racial sentiment that has been fomented by the extreme right-wing members of the American electorate seems to have provided hate groups and domestic terrorists with a thinly veiled justification to harm any person they do not understand or who doesn’t look like them.
This is the same population that is vehemently anti-President Barak Obama simply because he is a man of color, and despite evidence to the contrary, they persist in believing that he is Muslim and a Communist.
According to reports, ‘The White House said President Obama was aware of the shooting and was being kept up to date by the FBI who has taken over the investigation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued a statement, saying, “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence.”‘
The shooter was allegedly a Caucasian male who was armed with a 9-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol, was heavily tattooed, wore a white t-shirt and black military BDU pants. The first responders, including the policeman who was shot by the gunman, have been credited with saving additional lives because of their prompt intervention. Oak Creek emergency medical personnel identified seven people dead – four inside the temple and three outside, including the suspect.Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report
- Police chief: Temple shooting being treated as “a domestic terrorist-type incident” (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Gunman, Six Others Dead At Wisconsin Sikh Temple (fox2now.com)
- Gunman opens fire at Sikh temple in Wis.; 7 dead (usnews.nbcnews.com)