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Posts tagged "Hate Crimes"

From the 04.22.2014 edition of Salem Radio Network’s The Janet Mefferd Show:

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW


over, 50%, of, sikh, children, are, bullied, in, school,, simply, because, of, their, faith,Over 50% of Sikh Children Are Bullied in School, Simply Because of Their FaithImage Credit: AP

Children who wear traditional religious garb are twice as likely to be bullied than their less conspicuous peers, a new report shows. 

Over 50% of Sikh children endure school bullying, according to a study from the Sikh Coalition of more than 700 Sikh students in Massachusetts, Indiana, Washington and California. It’s even worse for Sikhs who wear a turban, a staggering 67% of whom report being bullied. 

That’s a significant jump from the estimated rates of bullying in the U.S. The National Center for Education Statistics states that around 32% of all teenage students report being bullied in school, while the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has an even lower estimation of around 20%.

Sikh children are being tormented by other students who make fun of and rip off their turbans, hurl names such as “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” at them, and tell them to “Go back to their country.”


Image Credit: The Sikh Coalition

One student, known as L Singh in the report, recounts his experience being, along with his brother, the only Sikh in a California school. He wore his hair uncut in a topknot, and used to leave school in tears every day after being picked on by classmates. After two years, his mother visited the school, but that made no difference. “Teachers were racist out there,” he said. 

Eventually, his parents took him to the barber shop, where he took off his turban and cut his hair. Sing remembers his mother and father were crying. But again it made little difference. He was still bullied so badly that the family had to relocate to Indiana. 

For a Sikh, cutting the hair is seen as “the most grievous injury,” the director of the Sikh Coalition, Amardeep Singh, told Al Jazeera. “It’s like cutting your arm off, or a leg. Sikh history is replete with stories of Sikhs literally choosing death over having a haircut.”

There are more than 25 million Sikhs in the world, making Sikhism the fifth-largest religion. It’s tricky to determine the size of the U.S. Sikh population, because the census does not enquire about religion, but the Pew Research Center estimates that there are 200,000 American Sikhs, while the World Religion Database at Boston University has this number at 280,000.

Sikhs have lived in the U.S. for more than a century, according to the report, but have faced extra antagonism in the last decade, since 9/11 shook America.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

"Brown skin and turbans have popularly become associated with terror," the study explains. "Crude popular culture stereotypes of terrorists and damaging media images outside the classroom have made their way into the classroom, to the detriment of young Sikhs."

It’s also not just a school problem, as Sikh adults face hate crimesworkplace discriminationand mistreatment at airports. Last August — one year after a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. — the U.S. Department of Justice said it would begin tracking hate crimes against Sikh-Americans for the first time in history. 

But the classroom is an important place to start. The report calls on Congress to prioritize the passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require public schools to implement anti-harassment codes of conduct and report data on bullying to the Department of Education. It also wants to see inaccurate and inflammatory information about Sikhs — including “extraneous references to Sikh terrorists’” — removed from school text books.

That seems like a reasonable request, when more than half of Sikh children are being bullied.

Source: Lauren Davidson for Policy Mic

From the February 24 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: What we have here is a portion of the play-by-play of the Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, the first openly gay player to actually play in a professional sports game. It happened last night. The Brooklyn Nets against the Los Angeles Lakers. This is the Nets play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco, as Jason Coll — who by the way took number 98 in solidarity with Matthew Shepard, who was, it’s now been proven didn’t happen, but reputed to have beaten up by a bunch of anti-gay bigots.

Mr. Doctor-Shopper, the murder of Matthew Shepard IS a Hate Crime!

Citing the false claim that the Department of Justice used the George Zimmerman trial to aid “anti-Zimmerman activists,” WorldNetDaily’s Erik Rush predicts that President Obama may be collaborating with members of the press to stage a “‘false flag’ racial incident.”

Rush, who demanded that Mitt Romney put journalists in jail for treason if he won the presidency, warned that “starry-eyed, Obama-worshiping journalists” may help “create” bias crimes.


h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Janet Porter stopped by TruNews with Rick Wiles on Wednesday to publicize her new film project, The Criminalization of Christianity, and discuss the alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups. After making the laughable claim that conservative groups “weren’t allowed to exist” during the 2012 election cycle, she made the even more absurd argument that Obamacare will jeopardize our “ability to exist as a live human being” and that conservatives will be denied “lifesaving treatment.”

For the conservatives who do survive the “Obamacare death panels,” Porter predicts a grim future where people are thrown in jail for speaking against gay marriage or refusing to perform gay nuptials. She also alleged that Obama’s gaffe about visiting fifty-seven states was really a sign that he is a Muslim because there are fifty-seven members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

She added that Obama and Hillary Clinton used (or orchestrated) the Benghazi attack to criminalize anti-Muslim speech. Repeating Bill Federer’s debunked claims about the Benghazi attack, Porter said the Obama administration committed the “ultimate hate crime” and “hate crime of hate crimes” over the death of Amb. Christopher Stevens, whom she thinks was gay.

From the 06.12.2013 edition of TruNews:

h/t: RWW

During the debate over the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Religious Rightgroups like the American Family Association warned that the law would “criminalize negative comments concerning homosexuality” and “take away our religious freedoms.”

Of course, none of that happened, but that hasn’t stopped anti-gay activists from making the exact same false claims again and hoping more people will fall for it.

Yesterday, AFA president Tim Wildmon appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show and alleged that if the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) then we will see “persecution against Christians” and restrictions on the freedom of speech.

Ironically, the AFA’s own legal counsel, Pat Vaughn, admitted that “the Defense of Marriage Act is probably unconstitutional.”

image Prosecutor: NYC subway murder suspect blamed ‘Hindus and Muslims’ for 9-11 (via Raw Story )

New York City police arrested a Bronx woman and charged her with second-degree murder as a hate crime for pushing an Indian man to his death at a Queens subway platform, The New York Times reported on Saturday. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the suspect, Erika Menendez, told authorities…


Charisma Magazine has posted Rick Joyner’s weekly update where he claims that anti-Christian persecution in America has greatly accelerated under the Obama administration. Of course Joyner doesn’t have any real evidence to make such a specious claim besides arguing that the Shepard-Byrd hate crimes law “specifically targets Christians,” still insisting that the government is just itching to use the 2009 law to arrest pastorsban the Bible and censor speech. He also warned that “serious persecution against Christians in America “will come from the U.S. officials who are committing acts of “treason” by trying to “subject Americans to international laws and the U.N. resolutions”; naturally, Joyner did not name specific international codes that will soon be imposed on America.

His fellow Oak Initiative board member Janet Porter also released a new video warning of anti-Christian persecution due to President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality and, Porter suggests, support for Sharia law.

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Muslims recently concluded their holy month of Ramadan. However, this year’s Ramadan has been overshadowed by an uptick in Islamophobic attacks against American Muslims in their schools, homes, and places of worship. In the wake of the massacre in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin earlier this month, hate crimes threatening Muslims or members of other faiths who are mistakenly confused with Muslims have been on the rise:

  • Mosque’s Welcome Sign Smashed: A North Smithfield, RI mosque was vandalized on August 5, when their welcome sign was smashed with a hammer. After appealing to local police for more protection, the mosque received increased security checks. [Source]
  • Mosque Burned To Ground: Federal agents are investigating a suspicious fire that burned a Joplin, MO mosque to the ground on August 6. Just a month earlier, a small fire at the same mosque damaged part of its roof. [Source]
  • Pig Legs Thrown Into Mosque Site: On August 7, pig parts were thrown onto the site of a proposed Islamic center in southern California. Since consuming pigs is forbidden under Islam, local advocates are asking federal officials to investigate it as a hate crime. [Source]
  • Shots Fired On Mosque: On August 10, David Conrad fired two pellet-gun shots on the outer wall of a Morton Grove, IL mosque while about 500 people were inside observing evening prayers for Ramadan. No one was injured, but worshipers saw one of the bullets just narrowly miss a a security guard’s head. Conrad is now in police custody. [Source]
  • Acid Bomb Attack At School: On August 12, an acid bomb was thrown into Muslim school in Lombard, IL, while the school was being used as a facility for evening Ramadan prayers. Worshipers heard a loud bang against the building and realized that someone had hurled a 7-Up bottle filled with acid and other unidentified materials at the school. [Source]
  • Windows Smashed At Christian Arab Church: On August 13, a Christian church in Detroit reported that their building had been vandalized. The church’s pastor, Father Rani Abdulmasih, noted that his Middle Eastern congregation has been racially profiled before. [Source]
  • Paintball Attack At Mosque: Vandals shot paintballs at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City on August 13. The attack was caught on the mosque’s surveillance camera, but the police were unable to identify the suspects. [Source]
  • Molotov Cocktail Thrown Into Muslim Home: In the middle of the night on August 15, a firebomb was thrown at a Muslim home in Panama City, FL. The home’s residents believe that the Molotov cocktail was aimed at a bedroom window, but missed its target. The fire was put out with a hose. [Source]
  • Hate Graffiti In Cemetery: On August 16, a visitor to a Muslim cemetery in Evergreen Park, IL discovered that several tombstones had been vandalized with hate graffiti, including racial epithets and insults against Mohammad. [Source]

h/t:  Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Justice

Religious Right groups have publicly seethed at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision a couple of years ago to designate several of them as hate groups for consistently spreading false, inflammatory, and defamatory propaganda about LGBT people.  It is now clear that Religious Right leaders are hoping to exploit this week’s shooting at the Family Research Council to try to damage the SPLC.
FRC’s Tony Perkins said this week that the SPLC gave the shooter “license” to attack the organization by calling it a hate group.  Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber accused the SPLC of having blood on its hands.  The American Family Association and Traditional Values Coalition were among others who blamed SPLC for the attack.  Religious Right groups have long equated any criticism of their positions or tactics as attacks on their freedom of speech and religion; now they are taking it a step further to say that critics must stop calling out their hateful rhetoric and naming it as such.
It is important not to let Religious Right groups exploit this violence - which was quickly and unequivocally condemned by progressive movement leaders, including People For the American Way President Michael Keegan - to divert attention from the Religious Right’s anti-gay extremism.  As Right Wing Watch has noted, FRC was not labeled a hate group because of a simple policy disagreement, as FRC’s backers would have you believe; the SPLC cited very specific examples of FRC’s wildly inflammatory anti-gay language. 
You don’t have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama’s call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda’s kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as “enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality” and an effort to “uphold moral conduct.”  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  

One of them is Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who went on CNN on Thursday to say it is “totally irresponsible and unacceptable” to call FRC a hate group.   But Brown was flummoxed when CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin confronted him with an actual example of FRC rhetoric claiming that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”  Brown repeatedly refused to acknowledge that such rhetoric is hateful, exposing his call for “civility” as nothing but empty political posturing.  

h/t: Peter Montgomery at RWW

Floyd Corkins, the 28-year-old Virginia man who allegedly shot a security guard in the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday because of the group’s opposition to gay marriage, could be prosecuted under a hate crimes statute. The FRC would rather he wasn’t.

While the FRC has specifically opposed expanding hate crimes protections to individuals targeted for violent attacks because of their sexual orientation or gender identity because they believe it “sends the false message that deviant sexual behaviors are somehow equivalent to other categories of protection such as race or sex,” the group also opposes any hate crimes law on principle.

“Violent attacks upon people or property are already illegal, regardless of the motive behind them. With ‘hate crime’ laws, however, people are essentially given one penalty for the actions they engaged in, and an additional penalty for the politically incorrect thoughts that allegedly motivated those actions,” the group states on its website.

We oppose all Thought Crime laws in principle, because penalizing people specifically for their thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes — even ones abhorrent to us and to the vast majority of Americans, such as racism — would undermine the freedom of speech and thought at the heart of our democracy,” the group states.

While the FRC is a Christian organization — and religious affiliation is a protected category under federal law — federal prosecutors could have trouble proving that Corkins was specifically motivated by the FRC’s Christianity rather than their political activity.

In a more likely scenario, Corkins could be prosecuted under D.C.’s more expansive hate crimes law, which targets violent crimes motivated by political affiliation.

Hate crimes against Christians are much more rare than hate crimes against other religions. FBI statistics show that there were 58 anti-Catholic and 41 anti-Protestant hate crime incidents in 2010, a number dwarfed by the 887 anti-Jewish hate crime incidents reported.

h/t: Ryan J. Reilly at TPM

A very solid piece from The Nation on Islamophobia and Sikhophobia.

The tragedy of the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is enormous. Six innocent people were gunned down in a Sikh temple by a white supremacist—but they weren’t innocent because they were Sikh, they were innocent because, well, they were innocent! Had Wade Michael Page walked into a mosque and begun shooting Muslims, the victims of his rampage would have been no more deserving of death.

It’s true that we don’t yet know Page’s precise motivations, but in all likelihood it wasn’t Sikhophobia, a term barely known in the United States. It was Islamophobia. That’s why to say that Page made a “mistake” in targeting Sikhs, as many have reported, or that Sikhs are “unfairly” targeted as Muslims, as CNN stated, is to imply that it would be “correct” to attack Muslims. Well, it’s not, and even if this is an error embedded in the routine carelessness of cable news, we need to be attentive to the implications.

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of media coverage about the Sikh religion and its origins and practices. Knowledge is always welcome over ignorance, but what we really need to educate ourselves about is the way racism operates in this country and its deadly character. The facts are not consoling. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the extreme right wing grew “explosively” in 2011 and for the third year in a row. The SPLC now tracks 1,018 hate groups, up from 602 in 2000, the year that Page is reported to have appeared on the Neo-Nazi scene. The number of hate groups, in other words, has almost doubled in the last twelve years, and that growth has accelerated since the election of Obama. The targets have also expanded. White supremacists have always been obsessed with Jews, blacks and the LGBT community as their objects of hate. And ten years ago, Jews and blacks were Page’s villains, according to Pete Simi, who interviewed him in 2001. But things have changed over this past decade. What continues to be underappreciated is how the hatred of Muslims has become a major motivating and mobilizing force in this putrid scene.

But Islamophobia is real. Not only does it exist but it’s an increasingly toxic part of the political discourse of this country. To think that the compulsive hatred and fear of Muslims is reserved for the extreme right is to wall oneself off from how mainstream conservative discourse participates in this paranoid obsession that the old America is being nefariously and surreptitiously taken away from them. At bottom, this is an anxiety about the loss of privileges and power, quite likely related though not exclusively driven by downward economic mobility. (The New York Times offered the suggestive detail that property Page owned in North Carolina was foreclosed on in January.) Whatever the causes, the form that this hatred takes is cultural, and Muslims, Mexicans, non-white immigrants, really anyone who isn’t “American” by the most conservative definition becomes suspect.

Still, it is Muslims who are now some of the biggest villains in this story of decline, as the well-funded Islamophobic network pushes the paranoid fantasy that Sharia law is about to usurp the constitution or, even more simply, that Islam is not a religion at all but a “cult.” It has yet to be determined if there is any connection, but a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burned to the ground the day after the Oak Creek shooting. In this climate, anyway, mosques are not seen as American places of worship but as temporary hotels for perpetual foreigners and fiery incubators for terrorism. But the statistics show another story. As reported by Liz Goodwin at Yahoo! News, “Between 1980 and 2001, non-Islamic American extremists carried out about two-thirds of all terrorism in the United States, according to FBI statistics cited by the Council on Foreign Relations. Between 2002 and 2005, that figure jumped to 95 percent. In the ten years following 2001, only 6 percent of terrorist acts in America have been the work of Islamic extremists.”

Yet Islamophobia is not solely the domain of the extreme right wing. It’s part of the Republican campaign for president. One of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers is Walid Phares, part of the active anti-Muslim network. Michele Bachmann sent a letter urging the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton’s adviser Huma Abedin, among others, for “the deep penetration in the halls of our United States government” by the Muslim Brotherhood. Peter King held show trials falsely accusing Muslim Americans of radicalization and sedition. And one in three Republicans still believes Obama is a Muslim. Oh, brother!

And then there’s Michael Bloomberg. Under his watch, the NYPD has been engaged in a massive spying campaign against New York’s Muslim American community that included compiling huge amounts of information on ordinary Muslims going about their regular activities at school, on the streets, while shopping, eating and praying.

h/t: Moustafa Bayoumi at The Nation