In light of the terrorist attack on the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois chaired a Senate hearing on hate crimes. The hearing revolved around what is being done to chronicle, catalogue and respond to hate crimes, as well as failures by law enforcement and government agencies to prevent attacks like the one in Oak Creek.
It was an informative hearing, with some interesting highlights.
The most touching portion of the hearing came from the testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini who lost his mother Paramjit Kaur Saini in the terrorist attack. He recounted how after the attack he and his brother ate the final “rotis” (flatbread) that their mother had prepared the night before her life was tragically taken by White Supremacist Wade Michael Page.
“She had made the rotis (flatbread) from scratch the night before she died,” 18-year-old Harpreet Singh Saini recalled. “Along with the last bite of our food that Tuesday came the realization that this was the last meal, made by the hands of our mother, that we will ever eat in our lifetime.”
Saini urged law enforcement to start tracking hate crimes against Sikhs.
The testimony of Daryl Johnson was quite revealing for several reasons. He was the leading analyst on Domestic Terrorism and Extremism until that department was downsized from five full time analysts to one because of “right-wing pressure.”
Johnson also revealed that many in the DHS read Islamophobe Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism when he cited it as a source in his testimony.
Intriguingly, Johnson emphasized a crucial point, the quantity and lethalness of the arsenal found in the possession of the Hutaree Christian militia, a group planning attacks on law enforcement, was greater than the cumulative arms from the 230+ Muslims charged in the U.S. since 9/11 (most of the arms were provided by the FBI in such cases, which many consider borderline or outright entrapment).
It is also important to note that eight members of the Hutaree, an extremist militia in Michigan, acquitted this year of plotting to kill police officers and planting bombs at their funerals, had an arsenal of weapons at their disposal that was larger than all 230+ Muslim plotters and attackers charged in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks combined.
Read the following written testimonies submitted to the Hate Crime hearing: