by Melissa Harris-Perry
All eyes are on Wisconsin’s favorite son, Congressman Paul Ryan who is now the Republican vice presidential pick. But we shouldn’t let the relentless news cycle make us forget the other story from Wisconsin.
Just one week ago, Oak Creek, Wis., was rocked by violence at a Sikh house of worship. Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old former Army sergeant with known white supremacist affiliation, entered the temple carrying a 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun. Page killed six people and critically injured three others. After being wounded by the police, the gunman took his own life.
Many were quick to call this incident a case of “mistaken identity” suggesting that these Sikh Americans were targeted because they were confused with Muslims. Valarie Core, a Sikh filmmaker and advocate who has chronicled violence against her community for more than a decade responded. In the Washington Post, she wrote:
At a memorial service for the Sikh victims on Friday attended by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General Eric Holder, the shooting was called an “act of terrorism” and a “hate crime.” The F-B-I is investigating the shooting as “domestic terrorism” but has indicated that no law enforcement agency was aware of the shooter’s intentions. We do know The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked a spike in extremist, hate groups in this country in the past few years.
“The notion of ‘mistaken identity’ is not just wrong, it’s dangerous…. [it] implies that there is a correct target, and it further implies that hate violence should rightfully be directed at Muslims. This is absolutely unacceptable. … we must end violence against all innocent people - Muslim, Sikh, and anyone else - and build a world without terror.”