Sikh temple shooting has rattled the miniscule Sikh community in United States of America. The shooting and consequent killings is being treated as a case of domestic terrorism by the US authorities. Meanwhile Soroor Ahmed of NVONews.Com wonders as to why Sikhs are being singled out for hate crime?
When World Trade Centre and Pentagon were targeted on Sep 9, 2001 there was no mass scale massacre of Muslims in retaliation in the United States as it happened in the case of Sikhs after the assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi on Oct 31, 1984.
The US authorities swung into action to prevent any such ethnic cleansing within the country. It is other thing that the US army decimated two Muslim countries––Afghanistan and Iraq––on the plea that the attackers were from there. In doing so they did not distinguish who are innocent or who are not.
Though Muslims of the United States largely survived 9/11 a couple of Sikhs were killed in isolated incidents. It was then felt that they were targeted because of the mistaken identity as turbaned and bearded Sikhs resemble Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.
But 11 years later when a lone White bald-headed American, said to be a former soldier, stormed into a Gurdwara in Wisconsin and killed half a dozen Sikhs before getting himself killed the big question is: Is this another case of mistaken identity. Or, if this is a part of hate crime, why it is again against Sikhs, with which Americans have apparently no reason to be angry.
There are now about 3,14,000 Sikhs, whereas the population of Muslims is many times more––may be 20 times. There are many White and Black Muslims too. Yet after 11 long years is it that the shooter once again indulged in mistaken identity. Or is it that he has something specific against the Sikh community, who are living since long.
No doubt Muslims are sometimes discriminated in the United States. Whether there is some justification for it or not is a different matter. But is there any scope for senselessly targeting Sikhs. Living for last many decades they are familiar faces now. An average American recognizes them. There are turbaned Sikhs in the United States army too. What is more strange is that almost all those killed in the Gurdwara on August 5 attack were turbaned Sikhs though others too were present there, including women and children.
There are a number of instances of Sikhs being targeted in that country. On Nov 13, 2010 India’s ambassador to the United Nation, Hardeep Puri, was asked at the airport in Austin, Texas, to remove his turban for the security check up. There are instances of turbaned Sikhs being ridiculed and attacked by White Americans.
Sikhs have been wearing turban ever since their last Guru, Govind Singh, who fought against Aurangzeb, made it mandatory to do so.
But then there is no justification for hate crime in case of other ethnic groups too. Blacks too are being targeted for no reason whatsoever. The Americans should in fact be indebted to them as it was they, who in the pre-slavery era, worked like beasts to make America a place to live in. They cleared the huge jungles, worked in coal mines in the worst climatic condition, laid railway tracks in the most difficult condition and did all the menial jobs without demanding anything. In fact they laid the foundation stone for the US to become a global power. Yet they too are the victim of the worst hate crime.
Apart from the rise in hate crime what is of concern in the United States is frequent mass killing of totally innocent people by a weird sort of domestic terrorists. There is no organized group engaged in this job, yet it is taking a huge toll. Only a fortnight back a man shot dead a dozen people during the premier of a film. That was of course not a hate crime as all sort of people were killed.
Though the society and the rulers concede that violence is on rise yet no body can dare to check the open display of guns. Politicians do not talk about banning the gun-culture as they feel threatened to lose the poll. There is a general perception in the United States that banning would only increase violence.