Busy at the Olympics, which has been brilliant, but I thought I’d pass on more sobering news.
The Guardian explains the FBI findings
The FBI is examining ties between white supremacist movements and a US army veteran who killed six people as they gathered at a Sikh place of worship in Wisconsin on Sunday.
The police identified the gunman as Wade Michael Page, 40, who served in a US army psychological operations unit before he was discharged in 1998 for a pattern of misconduct, including being drunk on duty.
The Daily Beast has more details of Wade Michael Page’s past, including some great investigative research into his band:
Band photographs of End Apathy on their band-mix page show Page holding a red electric guitar, wearing a shirt that reads “Definite Hate: Music With Pride,” over a Confederate flag. Swastikas and Confederate flags hang in the background. Definite Hate, another band in which Page played guitar, is also affiliated with the Hammerskins, according to Pitcavage.
The Definite Hate song “Take Action” includes these lyrics: “All the talking is done and now it’s time to walk the walk / Revolution’s in the air 9mm in my hand / You can run but you can’t hide from this master plan.” It has been reported that Page used a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in Sunday’s attacks.
I’ve nothing to add to this disturbing news, except the thought that I hope the FBI have their eyes firmly fixed on domestic right wing terrorism which – until 9/11 – was responsible for the biggest terrorist act on US soil.
This is further confirmation that one of the biggest scourges of our time is not just extreme Salafism, but the over-reaction of Islamophobia, which often is given intellectual legitimacy by main stream thinkers, intellectuals and political leaders the US and Europe (I wrote a series of essays about the European dimension of this over the last two years). This attack on a Sikh Gudwara is doubly tragic, since it combines Islamophobia with complete ignorance. It is a world-wide phenomenon: as the massacre by Anders Breivik in Olso and Otoya last year proved.
A month or so ago, the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland explained his aversion to the casual Islamophobic statements you can hear every day. He reiterated something I’ve also often thought: every time a generalisation is made about ‘Muslims’ try putting the word ‘Jew’ there instead and see how it sounds.
We will reap a bitter harvest if this new ideology of hatred isn’t fought at every turn