On August 5, a Sikh temple in
Southern Wisconsin was attacked. Six worshippers lost their lives
before the gunman was killed. There was an outbreak of
condemnation – rightly so.
President Obama ordered flags at public
buildings to be flown at half-staff and Mrs. Clinton called her
Mitt Romney offered his prayers to the
families of the victims.
Left ignored, was the burning down of a
mosque in Missouri - predictably so. Worship in America is a
political prerogative in sink with U.S. policies.
But India and Indian Sikhs have privileges; so why were Sikh
worshippers targeted? It may well be that the perpetrator, Wade
Michael Page who allegedly had links to the white supremacist
movement ignored the political relations in favor of his ideology
-- white supremacy, articulated by President T. Roosevelt who said
of America: “ Democracy has justified itself by keeping for the
white race the best portion's of the earth's surface ."
Or perhaps, as CNN opined , “Sikh's "unfairly" mistaken for
Muslims and targeted.” This would not be the first time, and as
Public Radio International (PRI) has reported, since the events of
9/11, Sikh men have been targeted as Moslems . Even the cordial
relations with India could not prevent the perception that an
Indian Sikh resembles a Moslem and fair target.
Scapegoating Moslems had been planned as early as 1991 (see full
article here ). The end of the Cold War had left neoconservatives
fearful that with the demise of the Soviet Union, and the
splintering of the America 's right wing faction, there would no
longer be an unconditional support for a U.S.-Israel alliance. The
threat of communism was replaced with the threat of Islam. The
promotion and branding of Islam as an enemy came to fruition with
the events of 9/11.
In line with this neoconservative strategy, the mainstream media
in the US framed September 11 within the context of Islam,
ignoring all other inquiry, including the fact that a new U.N.
Human Rights Council assigned to monitor Israel was calling for an
official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have
played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (New York Sun [i]
). As neocon Bernard Lewis was busy teaching the concept of ‘
jihad' versus‘crusade' [ii] Moslem bashing, Moslem killing, and
Mosque burning became fair game.
The strategy of demonizing Islam was so successful that in 2008
the presidential candidates centered their qualification for
Office on Moslem-bashing. Former New York mayor and the hero of
9/11, Rudy Giuliani, made the threat of 'Islamic terrorism' the
centerpiece of his campaign.
Podhoretz also joined Giuliani (later
he joined McCain), as did John Deady who resigned after it came
out that he said the following of Giuliani: "He's got, I believe,
the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult
problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims.
Make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand
years, these people are very dedicated and they're also very, very
smart in their own way.
We need to keep the feet to the fire and
keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to
their caves or, in other words, get rid of them." Renowned
Evangelical Pat Robertson gave Giuliani his endorsement [iii] .
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, allegedly
dissuaded contender Mike Huckabee from “reaching out” to the
'Muslim world'. Mitt Romney, a contender in 2008 and the 2012 GOP
presidential hopeful, raised eyebrows when he suggested that
mosques be wire-tapped [iv] . For almost a decade, U.S. military
officers were being taught to wage a ‘total war' on Islam and
The Sikh Temple shooter, Wade Michael Page, a former U.S. Army
veteran, is condemned for the violent and meaningless murder of
innocent worshippers, but is he alone responsible for this act of
insanity? If these killing were truly a case of mistaking Sikhs as
Moslems, should those who implement seeds of hatred not be held
Who will persecute those who taught army officers to kill Moslems
- the Commander-in-Chief hopefuls and their advisors who promoted
hatred and persecution of Moslems, and the neoconservatives who
planted the seeds of hatred among us? Will their deeds be buried
with Page? As Jonathan Swift said: “I never wonder to see men
wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent
researcher and blogger with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the
role of lobby groups.
[i] Eli Lake , “U.N. Official Calls for Study of Neocons' Role in
9/11”, The New York Sun , 10 April 2008
[ii] Bernard Lewis, ‘Learning the Lingo. Jihad vs. Crusade. A
Historian's Guide to the New War', Wall Street Journal (27 Sept.
[iii] “The Religion Card; GOP Candidates Play on anti-Muslim
Sentiments”The Progressive, Biography Resource Center , USC Feb
[iv] The Religion Card, Ibid.