gurdwara shooting

A Double Standard of Terrorism

When a right-wing extremist kills people in the name of his ideology, is that terrorism?

A clearer picture of the Gurdwara shooting gunman’s intentions have emerged since my last post. It turns out that Wade Page, who was responsible for killing 6 people in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, US, was a white supremacist neo-Nazi.

Witnesses claimed that the gunman walked into the temple as if he knew exactly where he was going. Put together with his membership in white power bands and his research into white supremacy, it is clear that his intention was simply to kill non-white people.

White power bands usually just play songs with hateful and racist lyrics. But there are bands who are renowned for committing racially-aggravated crimes. The Hammerskins is one of them, a group that Wade Page knew very well.

White supremacy is an ideology that basically says  that white people are better than everybody else, and should therefore be the ruling power.

When Wade Page entered the Gurdwara last week, his message was to all non-white people – we (white people) will regain the country.

Double standards

Page’s attack on the Sikh temple certainly does fulfill the textbook definition of terrorism, which has two criteria; an act of violence, with a political message.

Yet politicians and journalists in the US seem to be very reluctant to label this an act of terrorism.

As international human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar has pointed out – if a South Asian man had walked into a Church and shot 6 people, it would instantly be called a terrorist attack. But when the tables turn, it is a “pointless act of violence” as Mitt Romney has said.

In a way, this double standard of terrorism is somehow condoning white supremacist violence, as they are then able to avoid the stigma and condemnation that is associated with terrorism from other groups.

The US government has cut back on it’s surveillance of right-wing groups in order to watch Muslim fanatics more carefully. But there has actually been a dangerous rise in the number of white supremacist groups since 9/11, according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

Ku Klux Klan: One of the more famous terrorist,white supremacist groups. Photo: Arete13 / Flickr

More examples of Terror from the Right can be found here.

Heart goes out to the families of Prakash Singh, Suveg Singh, Ranjit Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka and Sita Singh and Paramjit Kaur. May they rest in Peace.