Kaleef K. Karim
This article is dedicated to those who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists.
Adam Purinton, 51, on early Thursday, 22nd February 2017 shot three people. Eye-witnesses heard Purinton shout, “get out of my country”. He was heard making racial slurs before shooting three victims, killing one of them. Two of the victims are from India, of Hindu descent.
We have learned that Purinton’s target was “Middle Easterners”, as he said. He shouted “Get out of my country!” Straight after, he shoots at Indian immigrants” – he murders one.
We need to ask the question, what makes a man so angry that he has to resort to shooting two Indian men?
I will tell you what it is, Islamophobia – Anti-Muslim hatred constantly being peddled by the media and some right-wing authors. There is not a day that there isn’t a story about Muslims. Even in cases when they aren’t Muslim, they will try to shift it to blame the Muslim community.
Islamophobia is racism, pure and simple. If it wasn’t racism, then these white supremacist criminals would not have attacked a Sikh Temple – or they would not have attacked, a man wearing a Sikh Turban. Islamophobes only physically see skin colour. They can’t make a distinction between a Muslim, Sikh or even a Hindu.
This is not the first time innocent Sikhs and Hindus have been attacked:
1. In 2015, a Poor Sikh worker was attacked and sliced with a machete because the neo-Nazi criminal thought he was a Muslim: “Neo-Nazi Hacked Sikh Man With Machete Because He thought He Was Muslim”
2. Then there is An 82 year old Sikh man was preparing free meals for the homeless when he was attacked because the attacker thought he was Muslim.
3. Joseph Caleca shouted “anti-Muslim” remarks before hitting a Sikh man with his truck: “DA: Joseph Caleca charged with hate crimes after hitting, dragging Sandeep Singh in Queens”
4. “Store Clerk Shot In Face After Robber Called Him A ‘Terrorist’ And Member Of Daesh”
5. New York woman, Erica Menendez shoved a man in front of subway because she hated Muslims since. In the perpetrator’s words she said, “‘I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus 9/11’”
5. An Indian man, by the name of Ankur Mehta, was mistaken for a Muslim, was brutally attacked at a bar in the Ameria: “Indian man assaulted in US bar; he was mistaken as a Muslim” (2016)
6. There was also the Sikh temple massacre in 2012, where a white-supremacist murdered 6 innocent worshippers. The perpetrator of this massacre mistakenly murdered six Sikh members, he thought he was targeting Muslims. His target was Muslims, but he couldn’t distinguish a Muslim from a Sikh.
7. In 2001, a Sikh man by the name of Balbir Singh Sodh, was murdered for wearing a turban, mistaken to be a Muslim: “His brother was murdered for wearing a turban after 9/11. Last week, he spoke to the killer.”
8. Another white supremacist terrorist yells “Get outta my country” & shoots a brown person. This time the victim is a Sikh. (2017)
The above are just a few of the cases I have highlighted, there are many more.
These attacks do not happen out of nowhere. The hate and propaganda is instilled in them from the media, right-wing Christians and neo-nazi groups for many years. As I have said many times before, this hate doesn’t just come from nowhere. This hate is manufactured and spread by some media and certain groups to divide communities. When hate is spread against a minority, this is the result. Many innocent people get attacked and even killed because they happen to look different, or happen to follow a different faith.
Take for example recently, some conservative Bible-believing Christians gathered in a dining room, at a seafood restaurant in Kernersville, they came to talk about the “Muslim takeover”. An odd 20 or so people came to the meeting.
Tom Jones gave a presentation on “Islamization of America,” those at the meeting came to the belief that where ever there is a mosque or an Islamic center where Muslims go for worship, these are “recruitment” for “Jihad”, as they claim. Where do they get these ideas from? This comes from Erick Stakelbeck’s book, he peddles the conspiracy theory that Muslims are trying to take over America from every level:
“Brotherhood-linked organizations are establishing networks throughout the Bible belt.” Turning his head from right to left, he paused for dramatic effect and remarked: “I think that’s where we live.”
“A tactic that the Brotherhood has established over the years is establishing the presence of Islamic centers or mosques, which for them means a recruitment center for jihad, and forming a permanent foundation wherever they’re allowed to exist,” Jones said, continuing to read from Stakelbeck’s book.
These words are from Erick’s Stakelbeck’s book, it had these right-wing Christians so riled up that they were asking each other how they can start using violence against Muslims. Yes, you heard it right, these lies and conspiracy theory – propaganda peddled by Erick Stakelbeck’s book roused up Frank Del Valle, a staunchly anti-communist Cuban immigrant asked his friends in the room:
“Can we not kill them all?”
In between the conversation that was taking place, conspiracy theories were peddled that Muslims are trying to take over, Frank del Valle asked:
“Do you have any recommendations as to how we could stop this? Because my only recommendation is to start killing the hell out of them.”
In reply to Del Valle’s words, Robert Goodwill, who identified himself as a member of the national security advocacy group Act for America, took an optimistic tack with the recent election of Donald Trump, adding,
“We’re on our way.”
Frank del Valle was ready to take out Muslims:
“I am beyond that point,” Del Valle replied. “I’m ready to start taking people out.”
So who is the author Erick Stakelbeck? Erick Stakelbeck is a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting network (CBN). He was a sports reporter at the start of his career and all of a sudden became a self-made “expert” on terrorism and Middle-East. Bare in mind he has no qualifications on terrorism, nor the Middle-East. Brain Tashman perfectly sums up this “unreliable” so-called “expert”:
“It has been almost-comical to see how the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Erick Stakelbeck went from working as a sports reporter to a “terrorism analyst” heralded by Religious Right and anti-Muslim groups, which never seem to question his complete lack of credentials and expertise. But Stakelbeck knows how to please a crowd with his vehement diatribes against Muslims and progressives, warning that they are both have a ‘shared hatred for this country.'” (“CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck Mixes ‘Terrorism Analysis’ with Biblical Prophecy”, online source, http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/cbns-erick-stakelbeck-mixes-terrorism-analysis-with-biblical-prophecy/ )
Erick Stakelbeck and Pat Robertson on CBN were having a conversation about “Islam”. Robertson said the West is ignoring threats from “Islam in general,” just as it ignored “what Adolf Hitler said in Mein Kampf”. This nasty individual likened Hitler, the Nazis to Islam and Muslims:
ROBERTSON: Erick Stakelbeck, thank you very much. And, ladies and gentlemen, if we had listened to what Adolf Hitler said in Mein Kampf, the West might have been prepared, and World War II would have been averted. We are not listening to what these guys say. We are not listening to what not only the radical Muslims but Islam in general, we’re not listening to what it says. And we don’t believe it, because we say, “Well, it isn’t politically correct to believe that any religious group would do what they claim they are going to do.” Well, you’d better believe them, and we’d better be prepared. (“Robertson: The West is ignoring threats from “Islam in general,” just as it ignored “what Adolf Hitler said in Mein Kampf”, last accessed 23rd November, 2019,
This is pure hate speech, and Erick did not even rebuke him. The reason we say hate speech should be taken seriously, language has consequences. Authors like Erick Stakelbeck spread fears into the hearts of readers, by claiming that Muslims are trying to take over. Spreading hate, by claiming wherever in America a mosque is built, it is a center for “Jihad”, people rile up. Just look at what Frank Del Valle said, he wanted to murder Muslims as a result of Erick Stakelbeck’s book being read out. Stakelbeck has made a career in bashing Islam and Muslims, Right-Wing Watch has catalogued many cases where Erick Stakelbeck spews anti-Muslim, and Islam conspiracy theories: “ALL POSTS ABOUT ERICK STAKELBECK“.
He is not the only one with these extremist views, three days after Sept. 11, Ann Coulter proposed that America
“invade their (Muslim) countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”
What I find mind boggling about these cases is, that the perpetrator is always someone who has never even spoken to the victim(s) or anybody particularly from that group. I don’t understand how could you hate someone whom you have never spoken to or know of.
Dr. Craig Considine perfectly sums up Islamophobes or those who hate Muslims. He rightly points out that Islamophobia is pure and simple “racism“:
“An event like this reminds us that Islamophobic sentiments are currently produced through a racialization that includes a combination of “old racism” (skin color and ancestry) and “new racism” (culture and religious background).
The shooter in this event linked imagined features of “Muslim-ness” to people who are not even Muslim, and he subsequently subjected them to violence as a result of the racialization of Islam. The shooter clearly confused the victims’ physical appearance as a representation of Islam. He effectively used their bodies to categorize and to ultimately harm them in a terrible way.
The conflation of Indians and Middle Easterners shows how shallow Islamophobia can be. These two heterogeneous groups are from completely different parts of the world, and have significant differences in terms of ethnicity, cultural, religion, politics, etc. The shooter obviously does not care about – or apparently know about – such fine distinctions.
Ultimately, this story reminds us that you do not have to be a Muslim in any theological or cultural sense to be singled out for assault. Rather, what matters is how one looks, and whether those looks are conflated with Islam and Muslims.
That is why we say: Islamophobia is a form of racism.
These people must stop spreading lies and hatred towards Muslims, immigrants and minorities. To do this, we need to deny them social media platforms. Ban them from Youtube, Google and other social media platforms. Those who promote their hate and lies, should be fined and imprisoned. These measures might sound drastic, but this is needed in order to save lives and have a better community cohesion for our kids and grand-kids. They can grow up in a world with less hate and chaos. The propaganda – moves like spreading misinformation and lies on Muslims and Islam are not motivated by facts. They are motivated by prejudice, and hate that certainly has no place in today’s World.
We urge our fellow Christian brothers to speak out against this. Individuals who spread hate, can’t be given space to spout their rhetoric in Churches. I finish of with our Christian brother, Dr. Craig Considine’s wise words,
“We need to deny daesh and Islamophobes their binary struggle – their “us” versus “them” worldview. As you can see, we need to emphasize the importance of the grey zone , or the space where “we” (Muslims, non-Muslims, everyone!) can coexist and live outside of rigid identity constructs. The grey zone is in danger and we must cultivate it. We must make sure that people are engaging with one another and creating a culture/society that is made up of many vibrant/diverse parts. We must not give the likes of these bigots and conspiracy theorists what they want, which is that silly “clash of civilizations.” Why not the DIALOGUE of civilizations?””
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“Former NYT reporter explains why Donald Trump has everything to do with Kansas shooting” https://www.dailyo.in/politics/kansas-shooting-mark-stroman-trump-hate-crime/story/1/15845.html