Sikh community: Divide and rule tactics won’t work

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Following the footsteps of Andres Breivik, the Norwegian neo-Nazi mass murderer who killed seventy-seven innocent young people in Norway a little over a year ago, neo-Nazi Michael Wade gunned down with equal brutality six worshippers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the USA, in what is being called a domestic terrorist attack. The killer, Wade, who the US authorities say had strong ‘white supremacist’ links and was part of a far-right music group, himself was shot and killed by a police officer after failing to surrender. Following the incident, the Sikh community in the USA is in a state of shock and messages of sympathy and support have poured in from around the world.

Media reports have linked the senseless killings in Wisconsin to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and have claimed that violent hate crimes against Sikhs occurred due to mistaken identity with Muslims because of the distinct Sikh appearance of wearing Turbans and unshorn beards. This sort of reporting in the media can send an indirect message that attacks on Muslims are legitimate. Sikhs Against the EDL are appalled at the careless reporting and believe mistaken identity cannot be used as a justification for these violent actions against any community.

In the UK, the rise of Islamaphobia is ever present, and groups such as the far–right English Defence League exacerbate and seek to legitimise attacks on Islam. The killing spree by Brevik, denounced and derided universally received an alarming response from EDL leader Tommy Robinson, who made a series of disturbing statements praising his actions by saying,

“whether you like it or not, that person was quite shrewd. What he did is despicable, but he managed to make people curious”.

Robinson has also remarked that Breivik was rather tough as,

“he dared to come forward with his opinions”.

Attempts to isolate the Muslim community by the EDL, have recently been seen in the multicultural town of Luton, where the EDL attempted to hijack a Sikh community protest and turn it against the Muslim community. Furthermore, anti-fascist group Unite Against Fascism, have linked several members of the EDL to existing and current white power groups operating in the UK.

Balwinder Singh Rana from the ‘Sikhs Against the EDL’ campaign said,

“We are deeply saddened by the recent events at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and send our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this cowardly, murderous act and we mourn for our fallen brothers and sister. The Sikh community in Wisconsin has shown tremendous courage in the face of this calamity and we stand with them in their hour of need.”

He further added, 

“The racists are trying to blame the minorities for all the problems and when they go looking for scapegoats we are an easily identifiable target. They also try to use their ‘divide & rule’ tactics and would like our communities to turn against each other. But now is the time for all minorities and white anti-racists to unite together and show to these racists that they will not win.”

Francine Fernandes

Archived Comments

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We should be united

If this was an attack on Muslims, Sikhs or any other religious community it should be deplored. As a Muslim myself, I was appalled at this attack, and others should be equally appalled if it was an attack on a Muslim temple.

We are all people at the end of the day. Nothing more, nothing less, so whatever desires, wants, insecurities, and fears, violence, intimidation and racism is not a solution.

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