The attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in early August on the heels of the shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado signals the rise of right-wing domestic terrorism in the United States, experts say.
After the shooting at the Sikh temple, a statement repeated on nearly every U.S. media outlet was that the Sikh shooting was a case of mistaken identity and that because gunman Wade Michael Page was actually trying to gun down Muslims and desecrate a mosque, the act was somehow therefore justified.
A talk held by the New America Foundation on Aug. 23 entitled “What do we make of extremism after Wisconsin?” sought to address these issues and highlight hate crimes against Muslims that have not received the same media attention as recent events.
On Aug. 6, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burnt down. The day before, the Sikh temple shooting had taken place in Wisconsin. On Aug. 7, pigs’ feet were thrown into a mosque in southern California. On Aug. 10, pellet shots were fired into a mosque in Illinois. The list doesn’t end here.
Haris Tarin, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council believes that a change in attitude towards Muslim Americans needs to come from the top. “Democrats and Republicans need to come together to fight Islamophobia. We don’t want it to become a partisan issue,” said Tarin, who pointed to Representative Michelle Bachman’s witch hunt as an extremely dangerous turn taken by politicians.
Participants at the talk argue that how politicians portray American Muslims has a significant impact on how they are treated. “When the president talks, it helps. When politicians talk in favor of a certain group, it definitely helps,” says Valarie Kaur, director of the Visual Law ...