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Senate hate crimes hearing centers on Sikh temple massacre
Mourners at the Wisconsin temple where six Sikhs were killed last month.
September 20th, 2012
04:42 PM ET

Senate hate crimes hearing centers on Sikh temple massacre

By Stacey Samuel, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Forty-five days after a deadly shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple, hundreds of Sikhs and their supporters lined the halls of Congress on Wednesday for a Capitol Hill hearing on hate crimes and the growing threat of domestic terrorism.

“The recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was a tragic hate crime that played out on TV around the country,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who chaired the hearing for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

“It was not the first tragedy based on hate, and, sadly, it won’t be the last,” Durbin said of the shooting, which left six dead and four wounded in addition to the gunman, who took his own life. “But it should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to combat the threat of domestic terrorism.”

Sikh communities across the country say they have experienced increased attacks since September 11, 2001. Sikh men wear turbans that some people mistakenly associate with Islam.

Many Sikhs have lobbied the federal government to track hate crimes that are committed specifically against them.

“I have filmed, chronicled, combated hate crimes against this community for 11 years,” Valerie Kaur, a Sikh filmmaker and community activist, said in testimony at the hearing.

“In the aftermath of Oak Creek, reporters came up to me and asked me, 'How many hate crimes have there been? How many hate murders have there been?' " Kaur said. "And I couldn’t tell them … because the government currently does not track hate crimes against Sikhs at all."

Harpreet Singh Saini, whose mother, Paramjit Kaur Singh, died in the Wisconsin shooting, told the subcommittee, "I came here today to ask government to give my mother the dignity of being a statistic.

“She was an American," said Saini, an 18-year-old college student who's majoring in law enforcement. "And this was not our American dream."

More than 400 people from across the country filled the Senate gallery, and a second room for overflow, to watch the hearing.

“I have a son who is 13 years old, and I thought, imagine that was my son telling a story about how his mother wasn’t going to be there for his graduation, his wedding," Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York said after Saini's testimony. "It just connects to you as a human, as a parent. I forgot that I was Muslim.”

According to the Justice Department, 6,600 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Nearly half were motivated by racial prejudice, including those against people of Asian descent, though the agency does not track anti-Asian crime specifically.

Nearly 13% of hate crimes in 2010 were directed specifically against Arabs and Middle Easterners, with a recent rise in crimes directed at Muslims.

“The FBI has a hate crime incident report form, and it only has an anti-Muslim category. I think that category is a catch-all category, and it really reflects this very flawed logic of mistaken identity,” said Kaur, who has been documenting the progress of the Sikh community in Oak Creek since the August massacre.

Some at the hearing said there are not enough federal analysts and agents monitoring hate groups and people like white supremacist Wade Mitchell Page, the suspect in the Oak Creek temple shootings.

A Department of Justice report presented at the hearing said that that the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has strengthened the department’s ability to prosecute hate crimes.

A coalition of civil rights, civic, faith and community groups is calling on President Obama to host a summit of religious tolerance, saying in a Thursday letter that "Religious bigotry has reached a crisis point in America."

"It is time for President Obama to ensure that this climate of hate and bigotry does not continue to spiral out of control,” said the letter, signed by about 100 groups.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Sikh

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. easy dna

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  3. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    pardon me, do you have any grey poopon of Mohammad?

    September 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. mama kindless

    Mother nature gives us a decent soul. It comes to us biologically.

    Some people think they need to dress up their souls. Adopting Christian fable is like trying to dress up your soul with accessories from K-Mart. Adopting Islam fable is like trying to dress up your soul with junk from a flea market. (And Catholics shop at the K-Mart too, they just spend too much time at the costume jewelry department.) No matter how much you try to dress yourself up with religion, you are just making yourself outdated, false, and cheap. And you look that way too.

    September 22, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT

      September 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • ....

      SAME OLD BULL SH IT AS – OH HOLD ON MOM LOST HER PIPE AGAIN – BE BACK SOON – I HAVE TO GO TO THE NEXT TRAILER

      September 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 22, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do.... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • ....

      @hal
      BULL SH IT

      September 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!^

      September 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  6. hippypoet

    Religion has served a purpose and we should all be thankful to it,seriously. But lies it always was and still is and so the world is finally awakening. Science is still in its infancy. If we had the ability to understand the natural world as we do now before now the world would be a different place. Well, maybe the world would be nothing more then what the future is for us now. Asides from having answers provided by modern science now is little different from our past where notions of truth ruled! Interesting thought to ponder. Without religion however, many will find a lack of connection with complete strangers...i mean besides being a fellow human of course. The thought arises now what unifying idea can bring together a race, then the species? Or will we forever maintain the path of selfdestruction but now just be honest about the reasons? – Land. Money. Power. – This "idea" will be the power struggle of the 2100's. Mark my words. Without a unifying idea or force i fear the worst for a selfdestructive species now without reasons to be good for we now "know" heaven is just another "idea".

    world peace – how about that as an "idea"... can you get behind the belief in the human species and our ability to achieve such an actionless goal?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  7. mama kindless

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 21, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • jim

      How quaint. Good way to get your kids interested in the subject and make them read it, though, with all the bad stuff that can happen with those boogey men of ancient religion. Nothing like a good old thriller, mama kindless. Say, you wouldn't have happened to have read any of the writings of Paul, would you? With the strong mind and all of an atheist it would be no problem for you to keep yourself from getting sucked into some kind of mass hatred disguised as love.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Whatever

      :lol:

      well done, jim.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Topper

      And yet, here you are, insulting people's faith. Thereby spreading hatred and venom as you go.

      Your hypocrisy is sickening. Lets people believe what they want to believe. Faith or no faith.

      Stop the hate mongering just because you don't want to believe.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  8. AvdBerg

    Are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on.
    The above mentioned article is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    For a better understanding of the purpose of this Blog we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    Mitt Romney’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).
    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’, ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘Boston University – School of Theology and Stonehill College’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    Liberty University, BYU and all other Theological schools and seminaries are the training grounds for false apostles (Mark 13:22). The Gospel of Christ cannot be taught by mankind but can only be revealed by the Spirit of God (Gal. 1:12). For a better understanding of this mystery, we invite you to read the article ‘Ye Need Not That Any Man Teach You’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation? Everyone knows whoever wrote that was high as a kite. St. John the Opium Addict, evidently.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • TROLL ALERT

      This poster is a TROLL on this site so when you see them post, just ignore it. They are proven liars and only want to sell their book to support their cult plus their website also full of lies. Don't bother visiting their site, click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • duh

      everyone already knows mama whatever is a troll

      September 22, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  9. Rational Libertarian

    Hate crime laws are complete BS.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  10. Reality

    he simple, safe and peaceful solution:

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include Mormonism:

    • As far as anyone knows, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • Ditto for Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
    ========================================================================================

    September 21, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Reality

      Make that "The simple, safe and peaceful solution."

      September 21, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 21, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! *

      September 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • jim

      @ Jesus: This quote I found on a google search with the names you mentioned: "If you want to be certain of the power of God, you need to put all of your belief in God" seems to represent what these people in Grady's 'group' believes, although nothing in the bible examples that kind of belief and behavior, other than for when Jesus was tempted of the devil to jump off a tall building because, as it was said to him, the bible says the angels will keep you from getting hurt. Oldest trick in the book to deceive. This group says that Jesus never went to a doctor, but one of his disciples was a doctor and the bible does not say Jesus never used or refused their services. So it looks like they're just making this up and inventing their own theology and putting a Christian label on it. There are a lot of deceptions with regard to religious practices.

      September 22, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  12. ScottCA

    September 21, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • ScottCA

      If that one man had not hidden inside a religious monument of such significance, then all the ill events that spiraled out of control from that point forward would not have occurred. Hiding in the temple from the law, was cowardly, and using violence against the government was criminal.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  13. ScottCA

    September 21, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • ScottCA

      The woman in the video says "talking to families who have lost several generations, sons, husbands, grandfathers, and all in the name of religion. It makes me feel sick to the stomach."

      I feel this way everyday that I look at the news. People dying all around the world, all in the name of god, It makes me feel sick to the stomach as well.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  14. ScottCA

    September 21, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • ScottCA

      They dislike criticism of their dead martyr, again this sounds too much like Islam for my taste. It has me concerned.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • ScottCA

      Talk of god makes otherwise sane men into lunatics.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • ScottCA

      Okay As I am watching this further I am getting more and more concerned. They dragged children, little boys from a train and set them on fire. Ripping the children out of their mothers arms and setting them on fire while their mother watched. This is beyond words to describe how morally vile and wicked these actions were.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • ScottCA

      Correction it was a Sikh man who was burnt in front of his wife, and it was other Indians attacking Sikhs in retaliation.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  15. ScottCA

    Part 3 It is becoming clear that their belief in a non-existent god and the holiness of a building led them to violence and killing.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • ScottCA

      And signs that they received guns from China or Pakistan. I assume Pakistan as the logical source.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • ScottCA

      Sikhs asking for the generals assassination sounds too much like Islam for my taste.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  16. ScottCA

    Part 2 to the BBC docu mentary

    September 21, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  17. Falik Mustapha Branjit

    I gotta admit those bedsheets look mighty comfortable. Not sure about a turban on my head, though. Wouldn't it fall off?

    September 21, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • ScottCA

      I think for sure they pin it to their hair so it doesnt fall off.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  18. ScottCA

    Another docu mentary on Sikhism. Includes talk about extremist Sikhism.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • ScottCA

      The golden temple reminds me of a much bigger Kinkakuji "golden temple" in Ja pan. Kinkakuji was one of my favorite spots when I lived and worked there, but kiyomizudera "Clear water temple" was far better.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:32 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.