My Take: Sikh temple shooting is act of terrorism
August 6th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

My Take: Sikh temple shooting is act of terrorism

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

(CNN)–Imagine that you woke up on a beautiful Sunday morning to hear the news of a brown, bearded, gun-wielding madman who stormed into a Wisconsin church full of blond-haired parishioners and killed six innocent people.

If that scenario did occur, would most Americans have any problem calling that an act of "terrorism"?

Of course not.

Now imagine that the shooter was a white man and the innocent victims were bearded brown men and head-covered women. Suddenly, the discussion of "terrorism" gets a lot more complicated.

Of course, this is exactly what happened in a Milwaukee suburb on Sunday, when six people and the alleged gunman were killed at a Sikh temple.

One of the congregation's members told a local news station, "Nobody's angry here. We're just confused. Was this a random act? Was this directed at us because of the way we look?"

Sadly, it's probably going to be the latter.

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Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Police Chief John Edwards said at a news conference that the case is being treated as domestic terrorism, and the FBI is taking over.

But it's important for our greater American society to also condemn acts of terrorism when the perpetrator happens to be a white guy.

If not, we send millions of people of color around America the message that the term "terrorism" has been co-opted, that it shall apply only when brown bearded men are the shooters and not when they are the tragic victims.

Unless we acknowledge this attack on the Sikh temple as an act of terrorism, we will essentially be relegating brown-skinned Americans to second-class citizenry by perpetuating the myth that "terrorism" is only a Muslim, Arab or South Asian phenomenon and beyond the pale for any white person to commit.

To give another recent example, imagine that a brown Arab Muslim male tried to assassinate a member of Congress by shooting her in the head, killing six innocent people and wounding 13 others outside a grocery store during this assassination attempt.

Would we have any trouble calling this scenario above an act of terrorism? Nope.

Since authorities say the gunman was a white dude named Jared Lee Loughner, he was just a kooky loner whose mental health must have been the triggering factor. But if his name were Ali Akbar Nahasapeemapetilon, nobody in America would care a bit about his mental health issues.

Since observant Sikh men keep a turban (known as dastaar or pagri) and unshorn hair, which often manifests itself into a long beard, many Americans after September 11 wrongfully conflated Sikh Americans with Muslim Americans because of this "turban-and-beard" look. To highlight the sheer tragic irony and stupid human ignorance of bias-motivated hate crimes within America, the first actual tragic victim of a post-9/11 "hate crime" murder in the United States was neither a Muslim nor an Arab.

Four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Indian Sikh-American businessman, was brutally shot several times and killed instantly by Frank Roque in a Mesa, Arizona, gas station. According to BBC World News, the county attorney stated that Sodhi was killed for no other apparent reason than that he was dark-skinned and wore a turban.

Just like America has been on high alert for brown-skinned terrorism since September 11, millions of Americans of Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian descent have equally been on high alert about reprisal attacks against brown-skinned Americans that happened immediately after September 11.

On the same day as the Sodhi murder, September 15, 2001, Adel Karas, a 48-year-old Egyptian Orthodox Coptic Christian and father of three, was viciously murdered outside his suburban Los Angeles import shop. In Texas, both the FBI and local police investigated the murder of Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani store owner who was found shot to death outside his grocery store in suburban Dallas.

One day after 9/11, in the early morning hours of September 12, at least six bullets shattered several windows of the Islamic Center of Irving in suburban Dallas. Similarly, on September 12, 2001, 29-year-old Eric Richley of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, decided to drive his white Ford Mustang into the front glass doors of the Grand Mosque at the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland. Places of worship including Muslim mosques, Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras became instant targets for patriotic terrorists seeking to lash out at innocent Americans like the Sikh victims of the terrorist attack in Wisconsin.

Belonging to a five-century-old monotheistic tradition, professor Stephen Prothero writes,

Sikhism emerged out of a culture steeped in both Hinduism and Islam, and early Sikhs attempted to reconcile the two, in part by focusing on heartfelt devotion to God rather than rites and doctrines. "There is no Hindu and no Muslim, so whose path shall I follow?" asked (Sikh founder) Guru Nanak. "I shall follow the path of God." Like Muslims, Sikhs are strict monotheists who emphasize divine sovereignty. They reject the view that God incarnates in human form, believing instead in a formless God that can be known through singing and meditation.

According to professor Gurinder Singh Mann, the "Sikhs lay emphasis on a life of hard work, social commitment, and ethical living. A complex set of doctrinal, historical and sociological reasons made them a very political people and they have kept up that heritage in both the Punjab, the land of their origin, and wherever they have migrated to in the past century."

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Most Americans do not know that the first Sikh American member of Congress was Dalip Singh Saund, who represented California's 29th congressional district in 1957. Since Sikhs have served America as doctors, lawyers and teachers for more than a century, any attack on their house of worship should be considered an attack on all houses of worship.

So, if the mass murder at the Sikh temple is not referred to as an act of "terrorism" by virtually every member of our American media and sociopolitical elite, the only message that this will send to millions of people of color across America is that the term "terrorism" has been co-opted and shall apply only when brown bearded men are the shooters, not when they are the tragic victims.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arsalan Iftikhar.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Crime • Sikh

soundoff (849 Responses)
  1. Kurt

    Terrorism my eye. This is nothing but a nut case who went of the deep end and killed a bunch of people. Call it murder, but do not call it terrorism. Now if you want terrorism, just imagine what would happen if the Republicans who invented the word gained control of the U.S. Now that would be terrifying.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Satan

      It was a form of domestic terrorism, that's pretty obvious.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Kurt

      Sorry, it's not, it's murder. Bin Laden was a terrorist, a man who planned events to strike fear into people over a long time, this nutcase just popped and murdered people in a one off event.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So Timothy McVeigh wasn't a terrorist, then? That was a one-off.

      How do you know what this guy's motive was? How do you know he didn't intend to commit other crimes against groups of people for the purpose of instilling terror?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Kurt likes to pretend that Americans are incapable of terrorism.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He also likes to pretend that The Big Bad Gubmint is going to take away all our rights if we say something was a terrorist act.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  2. america was a much safer place when it was less "mutlicultural". Thats a fact.


    August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      America has always been multicultural.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      america blah blah blah
      Do you know what a fact is?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • america was a much safer place when it was less "mutlicultural". Thats a fact.

      rational libertarian..I said LESS multicultual.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's funny how the proclaimation "that's a fact" generally means that the person making the claim has no idea what they are talking about.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What America needs is less war. America was a safer place before it decided to become a world police force.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yup, tally. I'm going to add that one to my "list": "End of discussion." "'Nuff said." "Listen up, people!" "Wake up, people!"

      August 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • gk84

      And when was that?? before your ancestors migrated and took over the land of native americans?

      America is the land of immigrants. How can you be an american citizen and not know this?? sometimes I have to remember not everyone has common sense.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      america...blahbehdy blah...fact: You're full of crap. This has never been anything BUT a multicultural nation. People like you complained about the Italians, the Irish, the Chinese, and every other nationality and ethnic group since the days of the Revolution. Get over it.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      in the 50's, there were hardly any random shootings of the kind we have seen over the last few yrs...that is a FACT.

      Another fact? under obama the tenor in the country has become more divided, more angry..why? obama has chosen to use wedge politics in a selfish bid to get himself re-elected at the expense of all of us. Hows that for hope and change? examples? black vs. white, illegal vs. legal, catholic vs. atheist, trayvon vs. alleged white justice, black harvard professor vs white boston cop, men vs. women, ground zero mosque vs. "intolerance" , latino vs. "white rich males", etc..etc...any person who denies that he has been manipulatively doing this is just in denial....

      August 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You don't have to be a liberal to support peoples' rights.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dude, if you had any real point, you wouldn't need to keep changing your screen name. The issues aren't Obama's doing, and he isn't doing anything the conservatives wouldn't do in the same climate.

      Try not to be so dense.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...
      What is the source for your "factual posting"?
      And has it taken into account the lack of reporting of crime?
      Does it come stright from criminal statistics based on police and FBI reports, or are you just talking out of your a ss?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Praveen

      Unless you are a native American from the pre-independence days, your statement makes you a pioneering contributor to the lack of safety in the country.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      all im saying is that obama ran on being a bridge builder, the "first post partisan president" as the slavish liberal media drooled....the truth 4yrs later is crystal clear. you can see how he has governed, how he has ran his campaign...this aint no hope and change any longer... this is divide and conquer...anger the "folks" to rally the base ...he has selfishly pitted one american vs. another at every turn in every demographic. Its pathetic and you liberals ought to be the FIRST ones to call him out on it....but you dont, and THAT makes you hypocrites of the highest order.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      America blah blah blah
      You must be a troll...no one can be as ignorant as you and still function.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Clown/L/Unknown dimwit: "has ran"? You can't be that stupid.

      Oh, wait.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      and btw, as an immigrant myself, I have no qualms stating that america saw much less random mass shootings in the 50's than we are seeing today. and yes, the native indians are the ONLY true owners of this land. all im saying is that in some ways, we are much better off today and in others, much worse off. There is no doubt at all that these kinds of shootings are happening more frequently and more violently. Just look at the tenor on this site...CNN regularly posts the worst kinds of hate filled comments in these sections...and you think that helps calm things down? the media are GUILTY of stoking the flames and all because they want more reeturn visitors to the site. Its deplorable.

      gnite all you libtards.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      is that all you got? a few typos? LOL...excuse me....how he has run his campaign....

      ooooh......my bad....funny how libtards start to foam at the mouth when they have no good answer.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • ramblinglarry

      Hmm, I wonder how the 1950s are different from the 2010s?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, bozo, certainly Obama is at fault for creating the internet and allowing all sorts of morons like you to post their drivel. And of course the ONLY thing that's changed since the 50s is that Obama is president. Oh, and we have "more immigrants" now.

      You weren't the class valedictorian, were you?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who needs an argument when you're the opponent?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      your sign-off gave away who you really are...the same troll/poe that has been running amok here for a long time. I don't even think YOU know what you believe as you like to just stir up controversy with nothing to back up your wild claims, and everytime you are called out to back something , you change names.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And L/Clown/Unknown doofus, didn't you say goodnight? How can anyone miss your scintillating prose if you never leave?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      you may want to look into the real friends obama keeps...he was never vetted properly because the media wouldn't allow it....and it is coming back to haunt all of us...

      wright(racist), power(racist), malley, jones(truther), said(racist), khalidi(racist), farahkhan(racist), jackson(racist), rezko(criminal), ayers(father of domestic terrorism), soros.....

      again, he ran on being a unifier, a bridge builder, he is now running on dividing and pitting one american vs. another. I call that absolutely disgusting. The best is that he used YOU....he took your good will and your good intentions and cynically USED you. and you let him get away with it...I mean, really, what kind of liberals are you?


      August 7, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hm. Is it just me or does that "awww" person kind of sound like that Brony troll who popped up, agitated, then disappeared?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You already said all that crap and saying it again doesn't turn manure into gold, dear. You also already said gnite.

      So leave.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, thanks, tally–I knew I'd forgotten one of his screen names. It's the same loser.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Who invited me?

      well spotted. I've already moved on.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      Almost forgot...

      it was a pleasure kickin all of your butts this evening....and so easy too. 🙂

      August 7, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If ignorance is bliss, Brony Macaroni, you must be in ecstasy.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • awww, look at those liberals go crazy! lol...I love it...

      and so you know, the only screen name I ever use is, if I use one, is, The Bear Jew. I have never used another....but it sure is laughable watching you scramble to try to pin my postings onto that of someone else...it just illustrates how pathetic you guys are....absolutely priceless!

      August 7, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  3. Mark

    Lots of you seem to be missing the point. It is not about the color, religion, or political leanings of someone that makes them a terrorist. Nor is it about the color, religion, or political leanings of someone that makes them a bigot. Hatred toward anyone based on those criteria is bigotry whatever your color. Acting with violence to intimidate people based on those criteria is terrorism.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well said.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Well, I hate most religious people, so I guess I'm a bigot.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • ramblinglarry


      Why do you hate most religious people? Not believing in god a religion unto itself. You still have beliefs on the afterlife, how people should interact with each other, and how you should live your life.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Atheism doesn't guide my beliefs, therefore it is not a belief system. Science guides my opinion on the afterlife, and evolution/common courtesy guides how I treat others.

      By religious I mean very religious, not passive believers. I hate most very religious people because they try to legislate their beliefs onto everybody.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Jim


      August 7, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  4. independentlyowned

    Some people (mainly, white people) say that racism isn't a problem, or even if it is, it doesn't affect them so why should they care. THIS is why it matters to ALL of us. Because when we ignore that white men can in fact do terrible things such as committing mass murder, that ignorance allows them to do such things. And maybe next time it will be us or our families caught in the crossfires, and maybe it won't, but is that really worth risking by pretending only brown men can commit heinous acts?

    August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Racism is a problem, but treating minorities preferentially is also a problem. Say no to affirmative action (not saying that you support it, but it is a problem).

      August 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm a firm believer in success by merit, but until the rest of the country catches up, I don't mind that an effort is made to even the playing field.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If a white candidate is passed over for a job/promotion because they are white, that creates a VERY uneven playing field.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      This is true. But you must remember that for generations, the white, male candidate got the job, qualified or not. The shoe is not so comfortable when it's on the other foot, is it?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Discrimination shouldn't be fought with discrimination. The most qualified candidate should get the job. And in cases where it's equal (even though it's never equal after an interview), a coin toss is the only fair option.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      It is not a comfortable shoe at all, but all discrimination is wrong. Should I have to pay for the sins of my 6 time great grandfathers. I have been discriminated against many times because I am a white male...turnabout is fair play and all, but I have not discriminated in that way ever, it is not the way I was raised.
      There is no such thing as reverse discrimination. There is only discrimination.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I agree that all discrimination is wrong. However, there is still very much an "old boy network" in play. I have certainly been on the wrong end of it. I'm sorry that you are feeling the pain of discrimination, but I am also sorry that I have felt it, that people of different races and se.xual orientations have felt it, that anyone has felt it.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  5. StuporDave

    Can we stop offending (or defending) certain groups just because of where our accident of birth puts us? Fear not other cultures and belief systems. Terrorists are always doomed to failure, for they only make a small dent in their opponent. Remind them how easy it is to believe THE world is ending when they take themselves, and a few others, out, but it's only YOUR world that's ending. The rest of us go merrily (or not) along.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I was raised in Catholic Ireland and now live in the majority Christian USA, but I'm still intelligent enough th spot BS. I'll offend peoples' beliefs as long as they are incompatible with science.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      'To' spot.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  6. Kyle

    Is it a hate crime, yes. Is it terrorism, yes.
    Hate crime, a crime of violence or intimidation perpetrated against someone because of a specific difference between the victim and criminal.
    Terrorism, a crime to incite terror amongst a group of people.

    Killing someone because they are brown or of a different religion, makes it a hate crime, killing one or more in a public place to incite fear, makes it terrorism.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      99% of crimes are hate crimes, which is why hate crimes should be abolished.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Kyle

      No, 99% of crimes are crimes of opportunity.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  7. Mopery

    What kind of behavior did you expect from a neo-nazi?

    Neo-nazis have serious mental problems, they follow an ignorant ideology and worship Adolph Hitler, without a doubt the biggest loser of all time. If only they would truly commit themselves to their beliefs, then they could all follow in Adolph's goosesteps and commit suicide just like their cowardly demagogue.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Erik B

    I think 'terrorism' has become a watered down term. We have heard it so much, it doesnt really mean anything anymore. So what if the guy is a terrorist. We are not going to be more disgusted with him if he is. Its a repulsive act to murder, regardless of the label. Some killing is justified – ex. Osama Bin Laden. This clearly was not.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Be careful when you say some killing is justified. Justified by whom? Did we save lives by killing Osama? Or did the act just make more want to kill? History shows that the end justify the means, but does it really. Look at the facts and you will see that killing is NEVER outright justified, but it is projected and speculated that the end justifies the means. To know for sure we would need a working crystal ball, and we do not have one. I tend to agree with the sentiment, but not the all out statement.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  9. Duane - st.pete Fl

    so libs...answer me this...why then if this is terrorism is the attack that happened at Ft.Hood TX not terrorism? Obma will not call it that...why?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • It's a terrorist attack

      Because they are cowards.
      Because they are hypocrites.
      Because they are terrorists.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      That happened on a military installation...this would be admitting that an act of terrorism was perptrated on american soil under his watch...can't have that, can't get re-elected with that on the slate...no we'll just call it an act of a sick individual, and leave it at that. The man has a BIG broom, and a REALLY BIG rug.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I don't know, Duane. But then again, I'm not a "lib".

      I believe in common sense, and that radical liberals and radical conservatives are destroying this country. Maybe if we all started asking ourselves what we can do for our country, rather than what our country can do for us, we can salva,ge this great nation. Maybe if we started recognizing our similarities instead of focusing on our differences, we can start working for the betterment of the country as a whole, not just our political parties. Is that concept too "lib" for you, Duane?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • independentlyowned

      Even your precious Fox News has an article where the Obama Administration calls it an act of terrorism. From Jan 15, 2010. I can't post links but go Google it. Fort Hood WAS a terrorist act, so I'm really not sure what you're getting at. Does that somehow negate what happened at this temple??

      August 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      I don't think focusing on the similarities is the way to go. I come from a very diverse background, with cultural differnces all around, and all I get from it is strength. Because of all of the differnces, we are stronger than without the differences. The more different we are, ther stronger we bacome. We are never as strong individually as we are when we are community. The more we add to that community, the stronger we are. It is those who cannot accept the differences in people that make us weak.
      Is man alone or woman alone better? No we are better when men and women are together. And so it is with every other aspect of difference. America is as strong as it is because we are all from everywhere. America IS the cultures of the world brought together. And in bringing us all together, we are stronger than any individual.
      Celebrate our differences, but unite for our strength.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • brothersulayman

      The definition of terrorism is violence aimed at innocent civilians. Shooting a soldier is not shooting civilians, and thus is legally not considered terrorism. That's why Obama is not calling it terrorism, and that's why military courts are handling the case.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      It's only terrorism in Obama's book if it can be played as a right wing attack. Neo-Nazis, however, do not seat well as right wingers since they are all about control, not liberty. Democrats are thinking more like Europeans everyday.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • tallulah13


      By similarities, I mean the fact that we are all humans and that we all share the same planet. I am very much a fan of individuality, but pointless bigotry becomes much more difficult (at least to decent human beings) when we realize that humans are not all that different from each other.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Fair enough...when we realize we are social animals, we can gain the support of all around us, not just the ones we are comfortable with.
      Meant no disrespect.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "Who", I certainly don't believe that differing opinions are disrespectful.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  10. Clear and Present Thinker

    Of course it's terrorism! The shooter had a gun in public; that makes him a terrorist. If he had stayed at home on his own private property, he would be just an ordinary citizen minding his own business. When this NRA hero "legally" purchased his handgun, I wonder who he planed to kill?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  11. prakash

    he was WHITE Trash...
    ...it was before black who suffered and now it is brown ...
    so now we know who is real terrorist.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Duane - st.pete Fl

      so who is it smart guy?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Duane - st.pete Fl

      go Mitt!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Duane - st.pete Fl

      your not one of those "please feel sorry for me and my race" people are you?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  12. Lee

    I don't understand why the following hasn't been investigated or researched. Why are you ALWAYS so quick to conclude on what YOU think makes the news CNN? After all, where is the evidence that made you write this story?


    Please note carefully, that this interview is from a first hand eye witness. He tells reporters (obviously not you) there were 4 white men, dressed in dark clothing. All we want is the truth. I'm sure it's what you also want for your own children, if not the public;)

    August 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  13. Waveguy

    It was without a doubt a terrorist act and a hate crime. Why is this even being debated. I am a white male and the white Christians I have know throughout my 35 years of life have been more hateful and judgmental of others than any other race I have know. I think it's about time we take a good look in the mirror and truly become better human beings. There is a large Sikh community near here in Sacramento, and they are by far the nicest, warmest, giving people I have ever met. My heart goes out to the family and friends of this temple. Be well!

    August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Mick

      Good on ya mate! I fully agree with ya Wave guy. Only a moron would argue it wasn't a terrorist act.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Beautifully said.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • It's a terrorist attack

      Very hard core conservative here.

      This was a terrorist attack.

      Liberal bigots, don't try. You lose. There is only one section of people in this nation that don't consider this a terrorist attack, and that is bigots. And there is only one section of America that will label this as pure republican. Bigoted liberals.

      I see the next attack from the bigoted liberals, against ANYTHING conservative.

      Am I cruel to point out what will happen next. Nope, just honest in how I see things.

      Want to bet there is attack by liberals against anything conservitive? yup

      Sorry liberals, your hate shines through every time.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Paranoid much?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Define conservative. Are you an old style conservative, like me, one who wants low taxes, non intervention and the government to stay out of everything that doesn't concern them? Or are you a Nu/Neo conservative, who loves war and wants the government to legislate morality?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  14. sayquitter

    It is not just terrorism. IT IS RIGHTWING TERRRORISM.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Looking at their beliefs, Islamic terrorism is also right wing terrorism.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  15. tuscany590

    This is more like a hate crime, whereas Ft Hood was an act of terrorism.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • H-Man

      What's the difference?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  16. Jason in Marietta

    Terrorism is the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce. In current times we seem to modify that definition, making it "the use of violence or threats by a group or organization to intimidate or coerce". If this is some idiot who is acting alone, without guidance as to who or what he was targeting, I don't know how you can label it terrorism. Does that mean that a brown-bearded dark skin person who commits any act against someone unlike himself is a terrorist? Nope. We may jump to that conclusion sometimes, but unless we know motive we can't rush to judge.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Agreed. In this case it is appropriate to investigate whether this is an isolated hate crime, or whether there is a larger white supremacist campaign. As such using investigative powers under 'domestic terrorism' laws is applicable – in this case.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  17. Bill Maher Nails It


    August 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • K


      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Joshua

      And this is where lack of Jewish education nips him in the butt:

      All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel
      In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate
      -Kohelet Raba 7:16

      August 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  18. I have an idea:

    Let's replace all religion with peace and love. 

    August 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Lynn DeArmond

      lol....where did you get the idea this guy practiced any religion?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • John

      Skinheads are typically extreme right-wing Christians.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      But not always. Some are turning to Odinism and other Norse/Germanic myths.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  19. Hasai

    Since 1994, the UN has defined terrorism as "Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for _political_ purposes." (emphasis added)

    Since then, it seems the term has been drastically watered-down to the point it includes just-about any act, to include those of a lone lunatic who probably couldn't spell 'Sikh' if his life depended upon it. This was a hate crime, pure and simple. So drop the emotionally-loaded and INACCURATE terminology, Mr Iftikhar.

    Anything to sell newspapers, I guess. . . .

    August 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Well put.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • therealbartonfunk

      You have to be joking that this was not a terrorist act! So, let see (1) Criminal Act – yes, (2) intended to provoke a state of terror – check, (3) in a group of persons – yes, check, (4) for political purposes – check. The definition you state matches EXACTLY with what happened here as far as I can see. I take it that you don't view the neo-nazi, white supremacist ideology as sufficiently political? Do you not think that this person was sending a message to the Sikhs and other non-whites that was political and based in his insane political ideology? At what point is Naziism not political? Yes, this was a "hate crime" sure .. but a terrorist hate crime.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Chris

      My sentiments exactly. It seems even educated muslims don't understand the term 'terrorism'.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      (1) Criminal Act – yes,
      (3) in a group of persons – yes, check,

      I agree with the above, but we don't know about your other two assertions:

      (2) intended to provoke a state of terror – no, not necessarily.
      (4) for political purposes – no, not necessarily

      This could have been an act of unreasoning hatred for people who were 'different' with no motivation to create an atmosphere of intimidation or coercion.

      We need to investigate (2) and (4). Right now all we know is that this is a hate crime. Using investigative powers as though this were domestic terrorism is warranted.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • therealbartonfunk

      @I'm not a GOPer:

      I do agree that we need to investigate. But based on what I have read, then it seems that this guy had some political motive. He wasn't just angry because someone was dating his sister. But, we will see for sure. But, as far as "intended to provoke a state of terror" I can't see how this was intended to do anything but provoke a state of terror. Even if the guy was angry about someone dating his sister, he was going into kill not just one person but an entire group of people. I'll have to agree with your point about investigation, but I still have to disagree about provoking terror.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  20. barbequebob

    But, But, Its only terrorism when the victims are white and "christian". And it appears, that "christian" is a new term for hating anyone who is not white, in the name of Jesus.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Lynn DeArmond

      This guy was a Neo Nazi which doesn't align with any religion other then other white skin heads. It is an easy target for libs to spout their ideology and hate

      August 6, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Lynn, look into the Christian Identi.ty movement if you doubt the connection between white supremacists and christianity.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Lynn DeArmond,

      it is fair to say that based on what has been reported so far, we know nothing about Page's religious beliefs.

      It was equally wrong of Pat Roberston to call this attack "satanistic atheism".

      August 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.