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July 31, 2013 0

Remembering the Hate Crime Victims at Oak Creek – And Acting

Update — August 5, 2013: ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination.

On August 5, 2012, six Sikh wor­ship­pers were killed, and four oth­ers wounded, by a white suprema­cist skin­head at their Gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin.  The shooter then turned his gun on him­self.  Less than a week after the tragedy, US Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder. Jr.  par­tic­i­pated in a memo­r­ial ser­vice for the vic­tims, stat­ing that the crime was “an act of ter­ror­ism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”  sikh-temple-shooting-oak-creek-anniversary

Now, one year later, we observe the anniver­sary of this tragedy, hon­or­ing the mem­ory of the vic­tims by ele­vat­ing the fight against dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate crimes – and by work­ing to ensure that all places of wor­ship will be safe.

In the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks, our nation has expe­ri­enced a dis­turb­ing num­ber of back­lash attacks against Mus­lim, Sikhs, Arabs, and South Asians.  In fact, the first bias-motivated mur­der after 9/11 was Bal­bir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas sta­tion owner in Mesa, Arizona. 

After the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara mur­ders, ADL Chicago/Upper Mid­west Regional Office Direc­tor Lon­nie Nasatir par­tic­i­pated in a pro­gram in Oak Creek with the US Attor­ney and FBI offi­cials to show sup­port for the com­mu­nity and ADL pro­fes­sion­als across the coun­try reached out to Sikh orga­ni­za­tions to pro­vide resources on how to keep their com­mu­nity insti­tu­tions safe.

ADL has been the national leader in pro­mot­ing improved hate crime data col­lec­tion by law enforce­ment author­i­ties.  Since 2008, the League has sup­ported requir­ing the FBI to col­lect and report spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus.  

The mur­ders at Oak Creek pro­vided addi­tional impe­tus to make this change.  And the issue was exam­ined and pro­moted in Sep­tem­ber 19 Sen­ate Judi­ciary Sub­com­mit­tee on the Con­sti­tu­tion, Civil Rights and Human Rights hear­ings on “Hate Crime and the Threat of Domes­tic Extrem­ism,” to which the League sub­mit­ted com­pre­hen­sive tes­ti­mony. 

Work­ing with Con­gres­sional cham­pi­ons, like Rep. Joseph Crow­ley, the League helped to coor­di­nate a coali­tion effort to urge the FBI to include these new hate crime data cat­e­gories as part of the Bureau’s annual hate crime report pre­pared under the 1990 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act.   In May, an FBI Advi­sory Pol­icy Board rec­om­mended that the Bureau take this action.  

As we com­mem­o­rate the first anniver­sary of the tragedy at Oak Creek, we can take some solace in know­ing that our com­mu­ni­ties have done some­thing pos­i­tive to address that hor­rific inci­dent.  Col­lect­ing spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against indi­vid­u­als will increase pub­lic aware­ness, encour­age vic­tims to report these crimes, and expand exist­ing engage­ment and rela­tion­ships between law enforce­ment author­i­ties and these com­mu­ni­ties. ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination. 

Our atten­tion now turns to work­ing with the FBI and local law enforce­ment offi­cials to pro­vide train­ing and edu­ca­tion on these crimes.

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July 18, 2013 2

Homegrown Terrorist And Anti-Semite Emerson Begolly Sentenced

Twenty-four-year-old Emer­son Begolly was sen­tenced June 16 to more than eight years in prison for using the Inter­net to solicit oth­ers to com­mit ter­ror­ist attacks and weapons charges.emerson-begolly

Begolly, of New Beth­le­hem, Penn­syl­va­nia, had been an active mem­ber of sev­eral jihadist forums, where he pon­tif­i­cated on a range of issues, often prais­ing acts of vio­lence and express­ing his “desire to be a martyr.”

Many of his mes­sages, posted on var­i­ous online plat­forms between 2008 and 2010, were explic­itly anti-Semitic, call­ing for the death of all Jews and encour­ag­ing oth­ers to tar­get syn­a­gogues, Jew­ish schools and day care centers.

In response to the Israeli naval oper­a­tion to stop a flotilla of ships en route to Gaza in May 2010, Begolly wrote and recorded a trib­ute to the “Activists Who were Mar­tyred, Wounded, and Impris­oned at the Hands of the Zion­ist Pigs.” The song, which is enti­tled “When the Jew’s blood reds my knife, then my life is free from strife,” threat­ens to “throw them [the Jews] in the ovens” and to “shoot and kill Jews one by one.begolly-ansar-forum

Begolly, described by author­i­ties as self-radicalized, pre­vi­ously posted sev­eral pic­tures of him­self on his MySpace page dressed as a Nazi.

As a mod­er­a­tor on the Ansar al-Mujahideen Eng­lish Forum (AMEF), a pop­u­lar jihadist forum where mem­bers post and exchange extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda, media, pub­li­ca­tions, infor­ma­tion and news, Begolly posted com­ments call­ing for attacks on U.S. tar­gets, “such as police sta­tions, post offices, syn­a­gogues, mil­i­tary facil­i­ties, train lines, bridges, cell phone tow­ers and water plants,” as well as “civil­ian planes, finan­cial insti­tu­tions… Jew­ish schools, and day­care centers.”

He used var­i­ous aliases online, includ­ing Asadul­lah Alshis­hani, Abu Nancy, Goat Lee and Goatly.  In Decem­ber 2010, writ­ing under one of his pseu­do­nyms, Begolly posted a 101-page instruc­tion man­ual on bomb-making. 

Begolly also com­mu­ni­cated with oth­ers by instant mes­sage. Some of these con­ver­sa­tions, which Fed­eral inves­ti­ga­tors were able to recover, demon­strate Begolly’s mil­i­tancy and big­otry. Dur­ing the recov­ered con­ver­sa­tions, Begolly said “if amer­ica were not at war with islam i would not hate it but i am angry.” He said that if he were to “act now,” he would “go down like [Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy] McVeigh” and asked “have you ever con­sid­ered shoot­ing up ur school­ing and tak­ing revenge on those who wronged u?” He also said “most broth­ers objected to tar­get­ing kids but the rea­son i am for it is because first they r easy tar­gets and sec­ond because the pub­lic will want a reaction…plz dont think im a psycho ;).”

Begolly was arrested on Jan­u­ary 4, 2011, and charged the next day with assault­ing FBI agents and pos­sess­ing a firearm dur­ing a crime of vio­lence. After two FBI agents approached Begolly, he allegedly reached for a con­cealed loaded gun in his jacket and bit both FBI offi­cers, draw­ing blood.

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June 18, 2013 0

FBI Will Collect And Report Hate Crimes Directed Against Sikhs, Arabs And Hindus

Ear­lier this month, an FBI Advi­sory Pol­icy Board (APB) rec­om­mended that the Bureau sep­a­rately col­lect and report hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hin­dus as part of its annual national data col­lec­tion pro­gram man­dated by the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA).  sikh-hate-crime

The Anti-Defamation League wel­comed the deci­sion. The League had sup­ported col­lect­ing these sep­a­rate cat­e­gories since 2008 – and had pro­moted the action in an August 2012 let­ter to Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder, Jr. and in com­pre­hen­sive tes­ti­mony to the Sen­ate Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee in Sep­tem­ber, 2012.  And, in May, the League coor­di­nated a let­ter to APB mem­bers from 79 national civil rights, reli­gious, edu­ca­tion, civic, and pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions urg­ing this action. 

In the imme­di­ate after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks, the nation wit­nessed an increase in attacks against Amer­i­cans who appeared to be of Mus­lim, Arab, Mid­dle East­ern, and South Asian descent. The tragic bias-motivated mur­ders of six Sikh wor­ship­pers at their Gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin last August is one of the most recent examples.

Sadly, there is sub­stan­tial evi­dence that these com­mu­ni­ties have been tar­geted for vio­lence and van­dal­ism because of their reli­gious prac­tices, appear­ance, and apparel – includ­ing dis­tinc­tive beards, tur­bans, tra­di­tional fore­head art, or head coverings.

ADL will now work with FBI and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to update their HCSA train­ing man­ual and to work with the affected com­mu­ni­ties to pro­vide edu­ca­tion, train­ing, and out­reach for law enforce­ment offi­cials about these crimes.

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