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The Sikh Temple Carnage, White Supremacy and Islamophobia

Sikhs pray at the funeral for those killed by White Supremacist terrorist, Wade Michael Page.

by Garibaldi

Friday, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin six Sikh Americans, five men and one woman, victims of a terrorist attack were laid to rest “surrounded by men and women singing traditional Punjabi hymns.” They were killed in their house of worship, the Gurdwara, where they had gathered for prayer and celebration. The six fallen are as follows: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; Suveg Singh, 84; and the temple’s president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65.

When news of the terrorist attack on the Sikh Temple was breaking I unreservedly reported it on Loonwatch, it had all the hallmarks of an attack rooted in hate and Islamophobia. Considering the underreported increase in hate crimes and bias attacks against Sikhs, many of which are motivated by attackers’ “misplaced Islamophobia,” I highlighted that,

At the moment we do not know who the shooter was, or his motivation, but in light of the rise in bias attacks and incidents against Sikhs, who are often mistaken for Muslims, this story may be related to violent anti-Muslim Islamophobia and general xenophobia.

Immediately, Islamophobic critics, most of whom are keen on downplaying the effects of racism and bigotry took offense, claiming we were trying to score “points.” This is nothing more than their own projection, as any crime, real or perceived, possibly committed by a Muslim would forthrightly be blamed by them on “Islam.” As Wajahat Ali points out, questions about whether Wade Michael Page actually mistook Sikhs for Muslims are “irrelevant.”

We have yet to determine if Page mistook Sikhs for Muslims, but such questions are irrelevant. In today’s Islamophobic atmosphere, there has been increased marginalization of all AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities. In particular, Sikh Americans have faced the brunt of post 9/11 hate crimes and backlash, with Sikh men often being mistaken for Muslims. The first, post 9/11 hate crime murder was of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, whom the murderer chose because he was“dark-skinned, bearded and wore a turban.”

What has largely been missing from this discussion however is the relationship between White Supremacists and Islamophobia; there is a nexus that links the two. White supremacy is not new to the Islamophobia Movement. White Supremacist groups and ideologues on both sides of the Atlantic have latched onto the rhetoric of Islamophobic anti-Muslim hate, which they find to be an altogether more easier, accommodating and acceptable vehicle of bigotry to express their agendas and policies. This approach was summed up by Nick Griffin of the BNP (heirs of the White Supremacist National Front), his quite public attempt to break with the BNP’s anti-Semitic past was revealed for the fraud that every one suspected it was. At a conference in the USA, Griffin spoke about the BNP’s strategy and true attitude towards Jews,

“The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

The enemy he talks about most “easily” defeating are Muslims.

Like the BNP, the Islamophobes in the EDL are following a similar course, showing faux respect and solidarity with other groups while bashing Muslims and Islam. Frequently, one will see Israeli flags at EDL protests, a cover that ironically masks a number of Neo-Nazis and sieg heil saluters at the core of the EDL grassroots. In Germany, a story layered with Islamophobia from the lowest to the highest levels exposed a severe security blunder on the part of authorities; for over ten years a cell of Neo-Nazis targeted and murdered German Muslims of Turkish and North African descent. Throughout Europe, Muslim places of worship, community centers and graves have been desecrated with swastikas. Geert Wilders (PVV), Marine Le Pen (FN), Vlaams Belang, Italy’s Northern League, Greece’s Golden Dawn are just some of the supremacists whose rhetoric echoes closely their more open and unabashed White Supremacist and fascist predecessors.

In the United States one must recall the godfather of Islamophobia, Daniel Pipes who bemoaned ‘brown-skinned Muslim people’s exotic customs,’

“Western societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

Pipes’ Jewishness in this regard did not impede him from hurling such racist sentiments akin to what we expect to hear from the Grand Wizard of the KKK. The revelation here is that while some White Supremacists are eager to mask their old prejudices for more convenient “new” ones, there are some individuals from minority backgrounds who are all too eager to reciprocate. This is likely why you saw a Jewish Defense League division of the EDL, and Rabbi Nachum Shifren taking up the rhetoric of White Supremacism,

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

White Supremacism’s nexus with Islamophobia is even more vividly on display when we encounter the curious case of White Supremacist, David Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi, one will note, is the chief architect behind the anti-Sharia legislation drive that has swept dozens of US states over the past several years. Yerushalmi’s oxymoronic identities of Orthodox Jew and White Supremacist reminds one of the case of young Israeli-Russian Jews who turned Neo-Nazi, and afterword went on an anti-Semitic binge in Tel Aviv.

Yerushalmi is a co-founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE); an organization that seeks to criminalize the practice of Islam. Islamophobe David Gaubatz‘s Mapping Shariah Project was conducted under the aegis of SANE, it’s main claim that over 80% of mosques in the USA are hotbeds of radicalism and terror is a viral talking-point with the Islamophobia Movement. This fake claim about US mosques has been reproduced by such prominent bigots as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney and has even found its way into the mouths of numerous politicians, including Rep. Peter King, the McCarthyist chair of the current witch-hunt hearings on American Muslims. The number of “80%” has also been used to delegitimize and impede the construction of mosques. It was a frequent trope that was pulled out by anti-Mosque activists during the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy.

We know that bigots have, since 9/11, wedded the rhetoric of Islamophobia and White Supremacism. The Twin Towers, a building that was targeted by terrorists, has been transformed by the cynical in the Islamophobia-White Supremacist nexus into a symbol to be manipulated and exploited for their own agendas. Was it a coincidence that the terrorist Wade Michael Page had a 9/11 tattoo?

Maybe not.

9/11 and The Twin Towers have unfortunately become part of the iconography of hate amongst the Islamophobia Movement. The Twin Towers are all over the Islamophobes’ websites and blogs and even in their emblems, for instance, take Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s SIOA image:

Long before the SPLC labeled SIOA a hate group, Loonwatch did. Loonwatch exposed not only how Islamophobic the SIOA is but how its membership is filled with racists, many who espouse White Supremacist views, with frequent talk of “ragheads” and “sandniggers” on their official Facebook membership page.

In a clear example of the union of Islamophobic and White Supremacist iconography take Douglas Story, a White Supremacist who adorned his pickup truck with the Confederate flag; the Neo-Nazi code numbers of 14 and 88 on his license plate; as well as an image of the collapsing Twin Tower’s with the words, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Islam, I Learned on 9/11.”

Douglas Story was later arrested by the FBI for purchasing an AK-47 from an undercover agent. Robert Spencer defended Douglas Story and has never issued a retraction or an apology for his defense of Story.

I have only scratched the surface when it comes to the nexus between White Supremacism and Islamophobia in this article. There is much more to discuss. While Islamophobia is a multi-varied phenomenon, White Supremacism is a virulent and pungent trend within the ranks of the Islamophobia Movement. A further, more detailed article discussing all of the various Islamophobic-White Supremacist hate organizations, web sites, blogs, and political parties is necessary for a full treatment of this dangerous racism.

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  • Chameleon

    A self-proclaimed terrorist pig frothing at the mouth against terrorism – now there is a grand spectacle of self-loathing if ever I saw one!

  • Sarah Brown

    @khushboo – if you haven’t read it (and sorry if it’s already been linked to here – I lose track) already – I think you’ll find this interesting.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/why-the-reaction-is-different-when-the-terrorist-is-white/260849/

  • There is no such thing as ‘ISLAMO-PHOBIA.This threat of Islam is REAL AND NOT PHOBIA which means Imaginery fear.Looking back in 1993,the ISLAMO-SUPREMACIST/ISLAMO-FASCISTS led by BLIND SHEIKH of Egypt tried to destroy the Trade centre but were caught and the Sheikh is still in Jail.The attack by 19 ISLMo-SUPREMASCIST was well planned,16 of the attackers were well educated SAUDI ARABIAN citizens and sponsored by some Saudi princes.It had a devastating effect on American Morale and its economy.America should have NUKED SAUDI-ARABIA but it attacked the lesser devils.This war will continue now till there is decisive deafeat of Islam and Muslims.Muslims are dependendent on Western technology and Armament and they are basically backward.That was the WORST MISTAKE BY MUSLIMS TO ATTACK AMERICAN MAINLAND FOR WHICH THEY ARE GOING TO PAY A HEAVY PRICE.

  • Wanderer

    Fearless Ferret

    I don’t know if you’re understanding what the connection is. Maybe english is the problem, i’ll spell it out:

    Islamophobes see Muslim as brown man. Muslim not necessarily brown man. Islamophobe associate Islam with race. Muslims do not associate Islam with race. Therefore, to point out this racism, we use words like “racism” to point out the ugly truth to Islamophobes themselves. Make sense?

    As to your “Islam appeals to certain race groups” comment: uhmmm.. That’s racist. Islam majority countries are Arab, African, South East Asian, East European. How in your right mind could you think that Islam “appeals” to certain races more strongly than others. Unless of course.. DUM DUM DUM.. You’re a white supremacist yourself!?

    And by the way, it seems Islam is pretty darn “appealing” to white people as well; at least to white 27 year old women in Britain. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343954/100-000-Islam-converts-living-UK-White-women-keen-embrace-Muslim-faith.html

    Soooo.. yar. Heil Hitler.

  • khushboo

    Anderson Cooper has covered a story regarding white supremacy in the military. Check it out on cnn.com. I think this could be linked to another ex soldier, Nidal Hassan who claimed he was discriminated against by fellow soldiers. Also, there’s an article on him in relation to Holmes, Colorado killer. Why is Holmes considered mentally ill but Ft. Hood Shooter is considered a terrorist? They link him to radicals but then all soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan should be linked to “radicals”. The double standard here is obvious. I’m in no way excusing him but simply pointing out the hypocrisy. The first time I checked terrorist, the definition was simply ‘someone who terrorizes’ and now it’s been changed to ‘someone who terrorizes for political agenda’. Not only is that a wrong definition but we had no proof that the Ft. Hood shooter was told to kill fellow soldiers by “Islamists”. We do know that he was a lone wolf just like Loughner, Holmes, and Page and that he also had a mental problem like many other soldiers after wars. My main concern is that we’re now facing a trend of White homegrown terrorists who are only being called “mentally ill” as if that excuses them for the murders they’ve committed. My heart goes out to the Sikh community and I hope we can all stand with them against these terrorists instead of wasting valuable resources on chasing boogeymen i.e. “Muslims taking over”.

  • Sarah Brown

    It’s very confusing – not only are white supremacist groups ‘shills for the Zionists’ apparently their opponents, Hope not Hate, are also avid Zionists.

    http://www.davidicke.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-191583.html

    Seriously – as a Zionist (or perhaps anti-anti-Zionist) I don’t see why an Israel flag being carried on an EDL march should be used to discredit all strands of Zionism any more than an extremist claiming to act in the name of Islam should be taken as representative of the religion.

  • Fearless Ferret

    MrIslamAnswersBack I don’t see how it is possible to say that being critical of Islam is racist without also admitting that Islam appeals to certain racial groups , which are mainly non-white.

  • MOORISHaM

    I seem to always see Israeli flags in the EDL demonstrations here. Such so-called “White Supremist” groups are shills for the Zionists. Just look at the prophets of Islamophobia for God’s sake! The White Supremists are going to be used as the convenient fall guys for these clowns. They have a long history of manipulating the ignorant to fight their wars.

  • Sean

    I think you are confusing the issue somewhat. When it comes to Islamophobia, it is not Zionists who are embracing the rhetoric of white supremacists, but the other way around. Demonization of Muslims and Arabs as terrorists and women oppressors has been a fixture in the pro-Zionist Western media for decades now, long before 9-11. There is no one in our society who pushes Islamophobia more vigorously and successfully than the Zionist media. Some white supremacist might embrace the lies about Muslims he hears in the media, but he and his fellow travelers are not inventing a whole new school of bigotry all on their own.

    Traditional white supremacists were anti-semites who paid little regard to Muslims. Ditto for many of the evangelicals and others who now stylize themselves as “Christian Zionists.” Many of these traditional white supremacists in Europe are now solidly Zionist and repeating the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the Zionists, of which Geller and Spencer are hardly the lead spokespeople by a long shot.

    I suspect that many “white supremacist” groups, lead as they are by opportunistic scumbags and sociopaths, are easily coopted by the Zionists or the FBI. Witness the case of the race-baiter Hal Turner, who was on the payroll of the FBI while spewing racist hatred on the his radio show (why was he allowed to have a racist radio show?)and calling for his followers to kill–of all people–noted anti-Zionist Cynthia McKinney. The choice of target there speaks volumes.

  • Garibaldi

    @NurAlia, you write,

    I think what is being missed here, and purposely not talked about because it may ‘offend’ someone is the link between Zionism (the political ideology) and White Supremecy groups.

    This seems to be a bit over the top and conspiratorial in that you imply we are purposefully not talking about something. Loonwatch does not shy away from talking about anything relating to Islamophobia. I don’t think we can do any right according to most when it comes to this subject. Some accuse us of being too hard on Zionists, “Israel-bashing” and others accuse us of being too soft on Zionists or “purposefully” omitting links.

    I think the rest of your comment has a lot of merit however. I believe the reason why one will see Pro-Israel groups (in the USA) and well known Zionists (Jews or not) allying themselves with, meeting, supporting, taking up the rhetoric, etc. of current and former White Supremacists is because of their paranoid fear of the Muslim presence and possible involvement in politics and what that means for Israel.

    In Europe, White Supremacists are coming from the angle of “immigration,” “economy” and “fear” and so their courting of Jews and Israel is for those populist ends. Like I said some from “minority” backgrounds are all too happy to reciprocate and or forge alliances with hate groups because of their own hate.

  • Jai

    Garibaldi,

    “This approach was summed up by Nick Griffin of the BNP (heirs of the White Supremacist National Front), his quite public attempt to break with the BNP’s anti-Semitic past was revealed for the fraud that every one suspected it was. At a conference in the USA, Griffin spoke about the BNP’s strategy and true attitude towards Jews….The enemy he talks about most “easily” defeating are Muslims. Like the BNP, the Islamophobes in the EDL are following a similar course, showing faux respect and solidarity with other groups while bashing Muslims and Islam.”

    Another quote from Nick Griffin is also particularly revealing about the real motivations of such individuals. It speaks volumes about the level of cynical opportunism involved.

    Nick Griffin, speaking on the record to a BNP meeting in Burnley, UK, in 2006, was caught on video admitting that he and his allies are deliberately hiding their anti-Semitism from the public and are demonising & scapegoating Muslims as a vehicle to achieve power:

    Video: http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1269630805284168668

    Quote: “We bang on about Islam. Why? Because to the ordinary public out there it’s the thing they can understand. It’s the thing the newspaper editors sell newspapers with. If we were to attack some other ethnic group—some people say we should attack the Jews… But … we’ve got to get to power. And if that was an issue we chose to bang on about when the press don’t talk about it … the public would just think we were barking mad. They’d just think oh, you’re attacking Jews just because you want to attack Jews. You’re attacking this group of powerful Zionists just because you want to take poor Manny Cohen the tailor and shove him in a gas chamber. That’s what the public would think. It wouldn’t get us anywhere other than stepping backwards. It would lock us in a little box; the public would think “extremist crank lunatics, nothing to do with me.” And we wouldn’t get power.”

  • Glorfindel

    @Senor

    So why did he kill those Sikhs then? Must be that he is just ‘mad’ right? Funny that non-Muslim killers are always mad lacking no motivation and Muslim killers are always part of some giant Islamification/Creeping Sharia Conspiracy, aren’t they?

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    @ Senor:

    No, he did not serve in the Middle East or anywhere else overseas. Even if he did, I doubt it would make much difference; just being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan teaches you nothing about Islam in and of itself. Yes, he is dead and cannot be interviewed. However, his actions show he was a sick, ignorant, retarded asswipe (my words, and I’ll gladly repeat them to his family and friends, assuming he has any). That, and the fact that he was a white supremacist and had a 9/11 tattoo, tells us everything we need to know.

  • Senor

    Hold on here everyone. Where is the proof and this guy shot up Sikhs because he thought they were Muslim? He served in the military in the Middle East. I am pretty sure he probably knew the difference between Muslims and Sikhs. Then again, who knows? He is dead and cannot be interviewed.

    All I’m saying is let us not shout fire where there may be none.

  • NurAlia

    I think what is being missed here, and purposely not talked about because it may ‘offend’ someone is the link between Zionism (the political ideology) and White Supremecy groups.

    White Surpemists hate everyone not like them. They cant go into the streets without strong opposistion and claim to hate Black people, or Jews…of which there is no doubt they do.

    However, people like Frank Gaffney align themselves with these White Supremists, because White Supremists need a viable target to focus on…one that legitimises them. Frank Gaffney, and those who promote Zionism gear thier rhetoric of ‘God and country’ to appeal to those who belive they are oppressed as White people.

    We must understand that most of the hate is really not focused on Islam itself, but on Arabs, which is seem by Zionists to be the obsticle of thier main agenda. Notice the stereotype…dark skinned people who have ‘Arab sounding names’ (to the uneducated failues like those who would be driven to White Supremecy…any name they cant pronounce is Arabi) where the men wear beards, and women cover thier hair.

    The hatred of immigration and diversity, in favor of ‘cultural purity’ is the real focus of White Supremecy, and the Zionist rhetoric simply gives the haters an ‘easy target’.

    I think again, that we..the Muslims…must join in with other people who are hated, rather than suffer alone. Then too, we have to accept this as part of our world, and protect ourselves against it, just like every other minority who have been oppressed by ‘cultural purity’ of others.

  • @FearlessFerret Its racist because the anti-muslim bigots speak of Muslims as if they are a race. Such as Daniel Pipes who said “Western societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” So as you can see he perceives Muslims as Brown skinned people.And he is not alone.

    So yes, there is a racist component here, whether Muslims are a race in reality or not. The point is the Anti-Muslims bigots see Muslims as a race of brown skinned people. So I hope your comment was not an attempt to cover or make some type of defense for these White racist dirt bags!

  • Islamo-phobia is Nazism.

  • FearlessFerret

    So criticism of Islam is racist? Islam must therefore appeal to certain racial groups and is then a racist ideology. If it doesn’t appeal to certain racial groups then criticism of Islam is not racist.

  • Hatethehaterz

    Great article, Garibaldi! I think islamophobia at its core (in the west at least) is an extension of and connection to racism. Let’s face it, most anti-Muslim bigots are not the sharpest tools in the shed and full of ignorance. They percieve Islam as a religion of non-Whites. Mostly brown people. This is of course not true at all, as any race/ethnicity are welcome in Islam. But the perception is there.

    Furthermore, I think there is an unhealthy amount of Christian symbolism employed in many white supremacist movements. For example, the KKK’s use of crosses. Even certain Churches such as the Mormon Church taught negative things about non-whites as a matter of doctrine until more recently. Given that the U.S. and other western nations are Christian majority, I think some in the west view Islam and Muslims as a threat to both White “race” and White “religion.”

  • mindy1

    First, rip to the Sikhs killed :'( that is so wrong. Second I just wish we could all see our common humanity, we are 99% identical in our DNA why make a deal over that lousy one percent 🙁

  • Garibaldi

    @Jim,

    What is inaccurate?

    Stormfront has also had threads discussing the merits of Geller and Spencer and teaming up with Zionists to root out the Muzzies, etc. They are confused it seems as to what takes priority.

    However, Nick Griffin of the BNP makes clear the strategy, there is a trend within the Islamophobia Movement who seek a rapprochement with those they still despise in a coalition against those “enemies” who can be “easily” defeated, i.e. Muslims.

    This trend exists and is alive and well amongst the hate brigades.

  • Jim

    Well, this isn’t really accurate in a general sense.

    If you go to Stormfront which is central neo-Nazi forum/cess pool they may not like Muslims because they are generally not white but they don’t have much that’s nice to say about the Geller/Spencers of the world because they are supposedly Zionist shills and the Jews are supposedly the great evil in the world.

    I’ve read quite a bit over there for a laugh every now and then and the neo Nazis and white supremacists are MUCH more concerned with spinning Zionist conspiracy theories than with Muslims. There are quite a few threads discussing which are the “problem”.

  • Eric Allen Bell uses the terminology of Muslims being “inbred” and the JihadWatch grand wizard Bob Spencer gives it much credence as well. This is the type of Eugenics and Darwinistic nomenclature of many White Supremacists. If you noticed Bell seems pretty anti-Black too.

  • Garibaldi

    @Nilofour,

    I think you are on to something, Breivik was definitely a type of cultural supremacist but he appeared to be OK with some immigration as long as the immigrants assimilated to the dominant Christian culture.

  • Nilofour Zaman

    Islamophobia is a form of racism and if ever there was an article that points it out this is it.

    In my heart of hearts I also think Anders Breivik was a type of White supremacist too. Funny how Ayaan defended his actions that goes to your point about otherwise outcast groups who swallow the racist constructs of THE WEST.

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