On first hearing about the shootings at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in which six people were killed, most people will simply have reacted with horror at such an appalling and savage attack. But inevitably many will then start to wonder what the killer’s background was – what his motives were. The news that the gunman apparently had a 9/11 tattoo might not unreasonably invite speculation as to a possible confusion between Sikhs and Muslims in his warped mind. But perhaps, as Wade Michael Page had links with white supremacism, the attack was simply racist.
To talk of a possible ‘confusion’ (and many Sikhs have become the victims of anti-Muslim violence) does not (or should not) imply that an attack on Muslim worshipers would have been less despicable. And in another senseless act of violence, though thankfully it involved no fatalities, a mosque was burned to the ground in Joplin, Missouri early this morning.
Update: The ADL offers some useful background information about Page’s extremist links.