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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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August 14, 2012 0

White Supremacists React to Sikh Temple Shootings

Since the Sikh tem­ple shoot­ing in Wis­con­sin on August 5, reac­tions from Amer­i­can white suprema­cists have var­ied widely, from deplor­ing the shoot­ings to prais­ing the shooter, Wade Michael Page.

Early responses occurred before white suprema­cists learned the shooter was a long-time white suprema­cist.  Many reac­tions expressed con­cern that the mass shoot­ing would prompt calls for gun con­trol. Oth­ers were unhappy with the tar­get.  “I have to say that Sikhs are the least objec­tion­able non-White immi­grant group in North Amer­ica by far!!” wrote one poster on the white suprema­cist dis­cus­sion forum Storm­front.   Another Storm­fron­ter agreed:  “There’s so many legit­i­mate ene­mies, it’s just so stu­pid to pick Sikhs.”  A poster to the Van­guard News Net­work (VNN) asked, “Why get focused on Sikhs?  Just weird.  Very spe­cific turd in a giant sewer…Our worst ene­mies are jews and white trai­tors.  If you aren’t fight­ing them, you just aren’t living.”

Oth­ers made crude jokes, as did this Storm­fron­ter from Wis­con­sin:  “In a related story, sev­eral gas sta­tions and con­ve­nience stores in the Mil­wau­kee area have put out Help Wanted signs.”

Soon, how­ever, white suprema­cists learned of Page’s extrem­ist past, prompt­ing a gen­eral attempt at dis­tanc­ing them­selves.  Some claimed the shoot­ing was not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of white suprema­cists.  Oth­ers thought it was poor tar­get­ing.  “He…never learned the cru­cial les­son,” posted one Storm­fron­ter.  “Don’t attack the symp­toms, attack the cause.”  A VNN poster opined that “I don’t mind the mas­sacres so much as the sheer idiocy of those doing the shoot­ing, the ran­dom thought­less­ness of their tar­gets.  If they are going to go out in a blaze of glory then they should at least attempt to select more polit­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant tar­gets instead of mean­ing­less indi­vid­u­als.”  Many expressed fear of a back­lash against the white suprema­cist movement.

Oth­ers, how­ever, thought of Page as a mar­tyr to the cause.  “See you in Val­halla, brother,” posted Zach But­ler, a North Car­olina white suprema­cist, to his Face­book pro­file.  One Orange County based white power music band, Armed and Ready, posted to its Face­book page:  “R.I.P. Brother Wade, out with a whim­per or out with a bang, it’s your choice.”

These sorts of sen­ti­ments appeared espe­cially pop­u­lar among mem­bers and sup­port­ers of the Ham­mer­skins, the large racist skin­head group of which Page was a mem­ber.   “For Wade, the fight goes on,” posted one Idaho Ham­mer­skin to Face­book.  “R.I.P. brother, you’ll be missed!” wrote another.  “RIP, Wade, U were one hell of a white patriot,” posted Robert Kopko, a Florida Ham­mer­skin.  Sev­eral days later, he announced that he was “gonna go out with some broth­ers an[d] have a cou­ple drinks for a fallen patriot.”  Another Florida Ham­mer­skin wrote that “I miss my good friend WADE!  HAIL WADE!!”

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August 8, 2012 3

Girlfriend of Suspected Sikh Temple Shooter Arrested

On Tues­day, author­i­ties inves­ti­gat­ing the Wis­con­sin Sikh Tem­ple shoot­ing arrested the for­mer girl­friend of Wade Page, the sus­pected shooter, on a weapons charge. Misty Cook (whose for­mal name may be Brenda Misty Cook), 31, was charged with being a felon in pos­ses­sion of a firearm after police allegedly found a weapon in the house she shared with Page.

Misty Cook (on right) with Volks­front mem­bers, circa 2007–2008

Accord­ing to court records, Cook had a felony con­vic­tion in 2005 for flee­ing and elud­ing police in Mil­wau­kee County. She received a sen­tence of 18 months’ pro­ba­tion and served 97 days in jail. Cook was not involved in the deadly shoot­ing, but like Page, was a white supremacist.

Cook’s con­nec­tions to the white suprema­cist move­ment date back a num­ber of years. Accord­ing to a post­ing she made on April 18, 2012, to an on-line forum for sup­port­ers of the Ham­mer­skins, a racist skin­head group, she “heard Pas­tor But­ler speak 8 years ago and it was very inspir­ing.”  “Pas­tor But­ler” is Richard But­ler, the deceased founder of the noto­ri­ous neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations. 

In the mid-2000s, Cook had a strong asso­ci­a­tion with the hard­core white suprema­cist group Volks­front, which has a pres­ence in the Chicago area, where she lived at the time. A Volks­front spokesper­son even admit­ted to the Mil­wau­kee Journal-Sentinel that she had dated sev­eral Volks­front mem­bers. How­ever, for unknown rea­sons, she broke with that group around 2008.

By 2009, she had become an active sup­porter of the Ham­mer­skins, join­ing Crew 38. Like other hard­core racist skin­head groups, the Ham­mer­skins do not allow women to become mem­bers.  Crew 38 (the 38 stands for “Crossed Ham­mers”) is a “sup­port group” they started for women, hangers-on, and peo­ple who wished to become Ham­mer­skins someday.

Cook posted fre­quently to the Crew 38 site, author­ing over 850 mes­sages in a three-year period. In many post­ings, Cook expressed sup­port for the Ham­mer­skins, stat­ing in one post, for exam­ple, “I have a lot of respect for what the Ham­mers do. I just tend to enjoy broth­ers who are local and I see them all the time.” On her screen avatar for that forum, she iden­ti­fies her­self as “Crew38 Wisconsin.”

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