Vinod Mubayi


Six innocent Sikhs, including two children, were shot down and butchered in cold blood by a white supremacist while they were preparing for religious services at their gurudwara in Oak Creek, WI.  American media explained it as an issue of mistaken identity.  The shooter mistook the Sikhs for Muslims because the Sikh men wear beards, as if killing innocent Muslims would have been any less reprehensible.


America never tires of preaching to the rest of the world, especially in this election year, about its observance and promotion of democracy and human rights.  But the most elementary human right, the right to live, is always under threat due to the prevalence of a ubiquitous gun culture in most of the country.  This culture appears to be a reflection of a frontier mentality when guns were used to settle every-day disputes and, not the least by any means, to inflict genocide of the native people living here when the white settlers came from Europe.  However, the culture is both sustained and assiduously promoted by right-wing politicians in the country, notably in the Republican Party, who regard guns as a kind of repository of macho values and attitudes, and by organizations such as the National Rifle Association, which orchestrate and organize campaigns against any legislative measures to curb guns.  In some states, such as Texas, it is perfectly legal for individuals to carry concealed weapons in public.  In many states, buying weapons and ammunition is as easy as buying groceries.  Such is the power of the gun lobby, matched only by the power of the Israeli lobby, that even liberal politicians shy away from talking of the need for gun control.


When the ubiquity of guns is mixed with the ubiquity of the Islamophobia being spread by politicians and the media, it doesn’t take much for incidents like Oak Creek to happen.  Of course, the level of ignorance among most of the American population is such that it is hardly a cause for surprise that some gun-toting redneck fueled by hate of the Other strikes at random, unable to distinguish a Sikh from a Muslim.  Such killings have appened numerous times since 9/11 and will continue as long as guns and messages of hate proliferate.




(August 6, 2012)


The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)- Metropolitan Washington Chapter, a non-partisan, secular, civic, and community service organization for people of Indian origin, strongly condemns the shooting at the Sikh Gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  We pray for the souls of the deceased and extend our deepest sympathy to the relatives of victims.


We urge the authorities to fully investigate this heinous crime and provide support to victims’ families.


We also request law-enforcement authorities to take appropriate actions to prevent such hate crimes against all communities.


Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D., ( President Washington Metro GOPIO)

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