Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images
Mourners at the scene of Sunday's mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August, 6, 2012
In response to the tragic mass shooting yesterday at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a man believed to be a white supremacist, BuzzFeed has compiled a timeline of anti-Sikh violence in the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Sikhs, members of a religion rooted in India who are neither Hindu nor Muslim, became targets of hate crimes almost immediately after 9/11, along with Muslims. The turbans worn by Sikh men make them stand out and, for those not familiar with the difference, have led anti-Muslim attackers to target them by mistake.
The list is incomplete. It does not, for example, include the fatal shooting of two elderly Sikh men, Gurmej Atwal and Surinder Singh, shot down last year by an unidentified attacker with no other apparent motive as they strolled through a suburban neighborhood of Sacramento. Still, the timeline is a sad memento to all of those who have been killed or harmed.
Screen shot from msnbc.com
The murder of Iraqi immigrant Shaima Alawadi in late March sent ripples of fear through Muslim immigrant communities in the U.S., and internationally, after police announced they were investigating it as a possible hate crime due largely to a hateful note found next to her. But with police evidence now pointing elsewhere, the conversation surrounding Alawadi's death has shifted.
Comment-board discussions beneath news reports that police found a history of family troubles and a potential divorce have ranged from anti-Islamic cracks and talk of "honor killings" to a general dismissal of hate crimes and racial profiling. From one posted under a story in The Blaze by Justpeachy:
Hmm sounds like trying to kill two birds with one stone: a coverup for murder and trying to perpetuate the idea of “violence” against Islam. The left’s favorite dessert, served up–too bad for them the topping’s beginning to melt, just as some of it is on the Zimmerman/Trayvon case...
Photo by seanbonner/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A church sign in Los Angeles, January 2010
This week, both the FBI and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations released reports on 2010 hate crimes statistics; a few months ago, the California Department of Justice released hate crime numbers for the state.
Going just by the headlines this week, the messages have been mixed. "Hate crimes drop to 21-year low in L.A. County," reads a headline today in the Los Angeles Times, while NBC Los Angeles' website displayed a more ominous sounding "Hispanics Top Target of Hate Crimes."
Which is it, bad news or good? A bit of both. While overall hate crimes in Los Angeles county have declined, down to 427 in 2010 from 593 in 2009, anti-Latino hate crimes within the county lines are up somewhat. This is reflected in the state numbers, which show the number of overall hate crimes in California staying fairly flat since 2009, but the number of anti-Latino crimes rising.