The Sikh Temple Carnage, White Supremacy and Islamophobia

Sikhs pray at the funeral for those killed by White Supremacist terrorist, Wade Michael Page.

by Garibaldi

Friday, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin six Sikh Americans, five men and one woman, victims of a terrorist attack were laid to rest “surrounded by men and women singing traditional Punjabi hymns.” They were killed in their house of worship, the Gurdwara, where they had gathered for prayer and celebration. The six fallen are as follows: Sita Singh, 41; Ranjit Singh, 49; Prakash Singh, 39; Paramjit Kaur, 41; Suveg Singh, 84; and the temple’s president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65.

When news of the terrorist attack on the Sikh Temple was breaking I unreservedly reported it on Loonwatch, it had all the hallmarks of an attack rooted in hate and Islamophobia. Considering the underreported increase in hate crimes and bias attacks against Sikhs, many of which are motivated by attackers’ “misplaced Islamophobia,” I highlighted that,

At the moment we do not know who the shooter was, or his motivation, but in light of the rise in bias attacks and incidents against Sikhs, who are often mistaken for Muslims, this story may be related to violent anti-Muslim Islamophobia and general xenophobia.

Immediately, Islamophobic critics, most of whom are keen on downplaying the effects of racism and bigotry took offense, claiming we were trying to score “points.” This is nothing more than their own projection, as any crime, real or perceived, possibly committed by a Muslim would forthrightly be blamed by them on “Islam.” As Wajahat Ali points out, questions about whether Wade Michael Page actually mistook Sikhs for Muslims are “irrelevant.”

We have yet to determine if Page mistook Sikhs for Muslims, but such questions are irrelevant. In today’s Islamophobic atmosphere, there has been increased marginalization of all AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities. In particular, Sikh Americans have faced the brunt of post 9/11 hate crimes and backlash, with Sikh men often being mistaken for Muslims. The first, post 9/11 hate crime murder was of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, whom the murderer chose because he was“dark-skinned, bearded and wore a turban.”

What has largely been missing from this discussion however is the relationship between White Supremacists and Islamophobia; their is a nexus that links the two. White supremacy is not new to the Islamophobia Movement. White Supremacist groups and ideologues on both sides of the Atlantic have latched onto the rhetoric of Islamophobic anti-Muslim hate, which they find to be an altogether more easier, accommodating and acceptable vehicle of bigotry to express their agendas and policies. This approach was summed up by Nick Griffin of the BNP (heirs of the White Supremacist National Front), his quite public attempt to break with the BNP’s anti-Semitic past was revealed for the fraud that every one suspected it was. At a conference in the USA, Griffin spoke about the BNP’s strategy and true attitude towards Jews,

“The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

The enemy he talks about most “easily” defeating are Muslims.

Like the BNP, the Islamophobes in the EDL are following a similar course, showing faux respect and solidarity with other groups while bashing Muslims and Islam. Frequently, one will see Israeli flags at EDL protests, a cover that ironically masks a number of Neo-Nazis and sieg heil saluters at the core of the EDL grassroots. In Germany, a story layered with Islamophobia from the lowest to the highest levels exposed a severe security blunder on the part of authorities; for over ten years a cell of Neo-Nazis targeted and murdered German Muslims of Turkish and North African descent. Throughout Europe, Muslim places of worship, community centers and graves have been desecrated with swastikas. Geert Wilders (PVV), Marine Le Pen (FN), Vlaams Belang, Italy’s Northern League, Greece’s Golden Dawn are just some of the supremacists whose rhetoric echoes closely their more open and unabashed White Supremacist and fascist predecessors.

In the United States one must recall the godfather of Islamophobia, Daniel Pipes who bemoaned ‘brown-skinned Muslim people’s exotic customs,’

“Western societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

Pipes’ Jewishness in this regard did not impede him from hurling such racist sentiments akin to what we expect to hear from the Grand Wizard of the KKK. The revelation here is that while some White Supremacists are eager to mask their old prejudices for more convenient “new” ones, there are some individuals from minority backgrounds who are all too eager to reciprocate. This is likely why you saw a Jewish Defense League division of the EDL, and Rabbi Nachum Shifren taking up the rhetoric of White Supremacism,

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

White Supremacism’s nexus with Islamophobia is even more vividly on display when we encounter the curious case of White Supremacist, David Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi, one will note, is the chief architect behind the anti-Sharia legislation drive that has swept dozens of US states over the past several years. Yerushalmi’s oxymoronic identities of Orthodox Jew and White Supremacist reminds one of the case of young Israeli-Russian Jews who turned Neo-Nazi, and afterword went on an anti-Semitic binge in Tel Aviv.

Yerushalmi is a co-founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE); an organization that seeks to criminalize the practice of Islam. Islamophobe David Gaubatz‘s Mapping Shariah Project was conducted under the aegis of SANE, it’s main claim that over 80% of mosques in the USA are hotbeds of radicalism and terror is a viral talking-point with the Islamophobia Movement. This fake claim about US mosques has been reproduced by such prominent bigots as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney and has even found its way into the mouths of numerous politicians, including Rep. Peter King, the McCarthyist chair of the current witch-hunt hearings on American Muslims. The number of “80%” has also been used to delegitimize and impede the construction of mosques. It was a frequent trope that was pulled out by anti-Mosque activists during the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy.

We know that bigots have, since 9/11, wedded the rhetoric of Islamophobia and White Supremacism. The Twin Towers, a building that was targeted by terrorists, has been transformed by the cynical in the Islamophobia-White Supremacist nexus into a symbol to be manipulated and exploited for their own agendas. Was it a coincidence that the terrorist Wade Michael Page had a 9/11 tattoo?

Maybe not.

9/11 and The Twin Towers have unfortunately become part of the iconography of hate amongst the Islamophobia Movement. The Twin Towers are all over the Islamophobes’ websites and blogs and even in their emblems, for instance, take Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s SIOA image:

Long before the SPLC labeled SIOA a hate group, Loonwatch did. Loonwatch exposed not only how Islamophobic the SIOA is but how its membership is filled with racists, many who espouse White Supremacist views, with frequent talk of “ragheads” and “sandniggers” on their official Facebook membership page.

In a clear example of the union of Islamophobic and White Supremacist iconography take Douglas Story, a White Supremacist who adorned his pickup truck with the Confederate flag; the Neo-Nazi code numbers of 14 and 88 on his license plate; as well as an image of the collapsing Twin Tower’s with the words, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Islam, I Learned on 9/11.”

Douglas Story was later arrested by the FBI for purchasing an AK-47 from an undercover agent. Robert Spencer defended Douglas Story and has never issued a retraction or an apology for his defense of Story.

I have only scratched the surface when it comes to the nexus between White Supremacism and Islamophobia in this article. There is much more to discuss. While Islamophobia is a multi-varied phenomenon, White Supremacism is a virulent and pungent trend within the ranks of the Islamophobia Movement. A further, more detailed article discussing all of the various Islamophobic-White Supremacist hate organizations, web sites, blogs, and political parties is necessary for a full treatment of this dangerous racism.

Neo-Nazi who Was Defended by Robert Spencer Arrested by the FBI

In May of 2010, Douglas Story‘s vehicle was photographed containing anti-Islam slogans and neo-Nazi symbols:

Is this the back of some neo-nazi’s truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer’s next book?

CAIR filed a complaint with the Virginia Department of Transportation about the “license plate of Douglas Story” claiming that the numbers “14″ and “88″ were symbolic neo-Nazi code.

As Loonwatch contributor Rousseau reported at the time,

CAIR picked up on this loony truck driver’s mural and then apparently noticed his license plate number, which read “14CV88.” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, argued that this number was code for neo-Nazi white supremacist ideas; Hooper explained: “…Among neo-Nazis, 88 refers to ‘Heil Hitler,’ because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. White supremacists sometimes use the number 14 as shorthand for the 14-word motto, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”

Story denied being a neo-Nazi, saying instead that the numbers on his license plate referred to his favorite NASCAR racers. This turned out to be a lie…more anti-Muslim so-called taqiyyah if you will.

CAIR was correct that Story was a White Supremacist. The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported just a couple of days later that Douglas Story’s Facebook page was replete with white supremacist associations:

Arguing that his license plate was purely about NASCAR and had nothing to do with race, Story told me that he had a Jewish sister-in-law and had attended his niece’s bat mitzvah. He denied being anti-Semitic.

But here’s how he describes himself on Facebook:

“100% WHITE MAN, 100% ARYAN, 100% PRO-LIFE (Children are innocent), 100% PRO DEATH PENALTY (Criminal Scum aren’t innocent).
Over the past 28 years; I, like David Duke, have had an Awakening.”

Note to self: In these days of social media, Twitter and personal oversharing on the web, always check Facebook…

When I called Story to ask about the Facebook page, he continued to maintain that his license plate message had nothing to with racism. He stuck by his NASCAR story. “Southern white men. Southern white sport. What else needs to be said?” he said.

Story acknowledged that he thinks of himself as 100 percent Aryan. “Aryan is a Sanskrit word that means noble,” he said, “no matter what spin the liberal media tries to put on it as being a racist, hate word.”

He said he is an admirer of David Duke, who, he said was “reamed by the media because of his Klan affiliations.” “I am a white nationalist,” Story said. “I am in favor of the whites having their own homeland.” When I asked him where that homeland would be, he said he didn’t know. “The Pacific Northwest maybe. Alaska. Denmark. Greenland. Iceland.”

I asked if he really thought that the Holocaust was a hoax. “I don’t know what to think,” he said.

Rather than condemn Story, Spencer offered this initial defense,

Hamas-linked CAIR smears anti-jihad Virginia driver as Neo-Nazi

…CAIR’s whole story was false in the first place: the driver in question, Douglas Story, is not a neo-Nazi at all, but a racing fan. The alleged code numbers for neo-Nazi slogans were actually favorite race car drivers’ numbers.

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Spencer also argued the entire episode was a ploy by CAIR to link “anti-jihadists” like Spencer to neo-Nazi white supremacists,

The implication of the story, of course, was that anti-jihadists are neo-Nazis — which, despite the febrile fantasies of libelblogger Charles Johnson and his cohort, CAIR’s amiable stomach-stapled beekeeper Honest Ibe Hooper, flies in the face of the facts…

Spencer never apologized for being so horribly wrong about his “anti-Jihadist” buddy being a White Supremacist. Instead he posted a one sentence update saying, “The Washington Post has uncovered evidence that Douglas Story is indeed a white supremacist racist. In that case, he deserves whatever he gets from the DMV.”

In a new twist to this story, yesterday, Douglas Story was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force “after allegedly receiving a fully automatic AK-47 from an undercover agent.”

A Manassas man accused of being a white supremacist was arrested Wednesday by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after allegedly receiving a fully automatic AK-47 from an undercover agent.

Court records show Douglas Howard Story, 48, of the Manassas area, allegedly provided a semi-automatic AK-47, along with $120, to an undercover law enforcement agent with the intent that it be modified to become fully automatic. He then allegedly received the modified weapon from an undercover agent and was subsequently arrested, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and FBI  Assistant Director for the Washington Field Office announced Story’s arrest Wednesday.  He has been charged with a violation of the National Firearms Act – a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Manassas Patch, 30 May 2012

See also Inside NoVa, 31 May 2012

I’m not a fan of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, as they have been deeply involved in abusing constitutional rights, through profiling, secret surveillance and entrapment activities. Story’s arrest however does, once again, bring to surface the fact that the so-called “anti-Jihad/counter-jihad” movement is filled with neo-Nazis, fascists, and racists of one stripe or another.

It is also another opportunity to point out Spencer’s hypocrisy. He asked Ibrahim Hooper to apologize for “defaming” Douglas Story, but cannot and will not bring himself to apologize for supporting a “White supremacist” and defaming Ibrahim Hooper.

Robert Spencer will you finally apologize for defending a neo-Nazi “White Supremacist” even after the above image of his car, replete with neo-Nazi symbolism, the Confederate flag, and anti-Islam propaganda were evident? Do you, Spencer, agree with the neo-Nazi Story that “all we need to know about Islam we learned on 9/11?”

Something tells me Spencer’s apologies and answer will not be forthcoming.

Robert Spencer Defends Neo-Nazi, Will He Issue an Apology?

Is this the back of some neo-nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Is this the back of some neo-Nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Everyone please welcome Rousseau, the newest addition to LoonWatch.  He will be a powerful addition to our already stellar team.  This is his first piece…

Robert Spencer, arguably the lead loon of the loon universe, has been caught defending a neo-Nazi. The whole ruckus started when the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) complained to the Virginia Department of Transportation about the license plate of Douglas Story. Story had a mural made on his truck of the World Trade Centers burning after the 9-11 attack, with the words “Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.”

CAIR picked up on this loony truck driver’s mural and then apparently noticed his license plate number, which read “14CV88.” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, argued that this number was code for neo-Nazi white supremacist ideas; Hooper explained: “…Among neo-Nazis, 88 refers to ‘Heil Hitler,’ because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. White supremacists sometimes use the number 14 as shorthand for the 14-word motto, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”

But Story shot back and claimed that the numbers were in honor of his favorite NASCAR drivers: Tony Stewart (who drives car No. 14) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who drives car No. 88).

Story’s story wasn’t finished there. He went on to say that: “There is absolutely no way I’d have anything to do with Hitler or Nazis.” Story even argued that it would be outright crazy to call him a white supremacist or neo-Nazi, invoking the old “I-can’t-be-racist-because-I-have-a-Jewish/black/Muslim-friend” routine, saying: “My sister-in-law and my niece are Jewish. I went to my niece’s bar mitzvah when she turned 13 three years ago. Does that sound like something an anti-Semite would do?”

Robert Spencer demanded Ibrahim Hooper to issue an apology, saying:

Hamas-linked CAIR smears anti-jihad Virginia driver as Neo-Nazi

…CAIR’s whole story was false in the first place: the driver in question, Douglas Story, is not a neo-Nazi at all, but a racing fan. The alleged code numbers for neo-Nazi slogans were actually favorite race car drivers’ numbers.

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Spencer also argued the entire episode was a ploy by CAIR to link “anti-jihadists” like Spencer to neo-Nazi white supremacists:

The implication of the story, of course, was that anti-jihadists are neo-Nazis — which, despite the febrile fantasies of libelblogger Charles Johnson and his cohort, CAIR’s amiable stomach-stapled beekeeper Honest Ibe Hooper, flies in the face of the facts…

Facts?  Here are the facts, sir.  It looks like CAIR got the story right after all.  The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported just a couple of days later that Douglas Story’s Facebook page was replete with white supremacist associations:

Arguing that his license plate was purely about NASCAR and had nothing to do with race, Story told me that he had a Jewish sister-in-law and had attended his niece’s bat mitzvah. He denied being anti-Semitic.

But here’s how he describes himself on Facebook:

“100% WHITE MAN, 100% ARYAN, 100% PRO-LIFE (Children are innocent), 100% PRO DEATH PENALTY (Criminal Scum aren’t innocent).
Over the past 28 years; I, like David Duke, have had an Awakening.”

Note to self: In these days of social media, Twitter and personal oversharing on the web, always check Facebook…

When I called Story to ask about the Facebook page, he continued to maintain that his license plate message had nothing to with racism. He stuck by his NASCAR story. “Southern white men. Southern white sport. What else needs to be said?” he said.

Story acknowledged that he thinks of himself as 100 percent Aryan. “Aryan is a Sanskrit word that means noble,” he said, “no matter what spin the liberal media tries to put on it as being a racist, hate word.”

He said he is an admirer of David Duke, who, he said was “reamed by the media because of his Klan affiliations.” “I am a white nationalist,” Story said. “I am in favor of the whites having their own homeland.” When I asked him where that homeland would be, he said he didn’t know. “The Pacific Northwest maybe. Alaska. Denmark. Greenland. Iceland.”

I asked if he really thought that the Holocaust was a hoax. “I don’t know what to think,” he said.

Well, well, Mr. Spencer. It seems you bit off more than you could chew by coming to the aid of this neo-Nazi white supremacist.  The facts seem to lend support to CAIR’s “febrile fantasies” that there is a relationship between so-called “anti-jihadists” and the neo-Nazi crowd.  (Did the Confederate flag painted on Story’s back window not alert Robert Spencer!?)

This is not the first time that Facebook has exposed Robert Spencer.  Remember when Spencer was caught joining a genocidal Facebook group?  And how many times will we catch Robert Spencer et al. associating with neo-Nazis and fascists!?  The connection is certainly there.  While we’re not equating the “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis, we are saying that they hang out in the same circles, something altogether unsurprising considering that both groups are fueled by bigotry and hatred towards “the other.”  Is it not interesting that “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis can agree on so much?  Certainly, the rhetoric of the “anti-jihadists” mirrors that of neo-Nazis and fascists.

In any case, will Robert Spencer eat his own words now?  The ferocious Spencer bellowed:

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Will Spencer have the decency to apologize to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR? Will he post a correction to his anti-Islam hate blog about these developments to this story? Will Spencer do anything meaningful and respectful at all? Ever?

I, for one, am not holding my breath.