Though police have not yet named a motive in the attack, all but one of those shot were Sikh adherents. The other was a police officer.
Should law enforcement confirm Page’s ties to white supremacy, and if that proves to be the motive of the attack, it will fit with a growing trend in this country. Hate groups — groups that expressly advocate against a religion, race, or sexual orientation — have been on the rise in the United States, rising steadily since 2000.
And the targeting of Sikhs is not new either. Often, the hate crimes against Sikhs originate out of misdirected Islamophobia: Sikh men can most easily be identified by their long beards and turbans, which they wear according to religious doctrine. Assailants will mistake these men for Muslims. According to a report by Reuters, Sikh groups have seen huge spikes in hate crimes since September 11th, 2001, right at the same time when anti-Muslim sentiment in the country began to grow rapidly.
Though it is the fifth largest religion in the world, Sikhism is a small religious minority in the United States — there are roughly 500,000 observers of the religion, which originated in the Punjab area of South Asia, in the US. There has only been one Sikh member of Congress —Dalip Singh Saund, who represented Southern California in the late 1950s and early 60s.