I'm just reading now about the shooting that took place in Milwaukee yesterday, an attack on a Sikh temple. The shooter was killed by the police who arrived on the scene. Six innocent people were killed, another three wounded. It's being described as a domestic terrorist attack. The New York Times reports:
In an attack that the police said they were treating as “a domestic terrorist-type incident,” the gunman stalked through the temple around 10:30 a.m. Congregants ran for shelter and barricaded themselves in bathrooms and prayer halls, where they made desperate phone calls and sent anguished texts pleading for help as confusion and fear took hold. Witnesses described a scene of chaos and carnage.
Jatinder Mangat, 40, who was on his way to the temple when he heard reports about the shooting, said he had tried to call his uncle, the temple’s president, but reached the head priest, Gurmail Singh, instead. “He was crying. Everyone was screaming,” Mr. Mangat said. “He said that my uncle was shot and was lying on the floor and asked why you guys are not sending an ambulance and police.”
I know very little about Sikhism but I feel it's important to point out that it's not a branch of Islam -- it's unrelated to any Abrahamic religion. Sikh men often wear turbans, so they're often mistaken by Americans for Muslims.
“Everyone here is thinking this is a hate crime for sure,” said Manjit Singh, who goes to a different temple in the region. “People think we are Muslims.”
Though violence against Sikhs in Wisconsin was unheard of before the shooting, many in this community said they had sensed a rise in antipathy since the attacks on Sept. 11 and suspected it was because people mistake them for Muslims. Followers of Sikhism, or Gurmat, a monotheistic faith founded in the 15th century in South Asia, typically do not cut their hair, and men often wear colorful turbans and refrain from cutting their beards.
“Most people are so ignorant they don’t know the difference between religions,” said Ravi Chawla, 65, a businesswoman who moved to the region from Pakistan in the 1970s. “Just because they see the turban they think you’re Taliban.”
According to ThinkProgress, the gunman was a white supremacist:
Should law enforcement confirm Page’s ties to white supremacy, and if that proves to be the motive of the attack, it will fit with a growing trend in this country. Hate groups — groups that expressly advocate against a religion, race, or sexual orientation — have been on the rise in the United States, rising steadily since 2000.
ThinkProgress also confirms that the gunman's weapon, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, was obtained legally.