About a year ago today tragedy befell the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. It claimed six lives and left others with emotional and physical scars. As I watched coverage on CNN, they eventually dragged out an "expert" to explain to those watching what a Sikh is. The explanation left much to be desired. I chose to educate myself as best I could, so I could better understand not just Sikhism, but my Sikh friends, about whose religion I knew relatively little. There has been a lot of talk over the years about how multicultural Canada is. It's often expounded as one of our virtues, but what we haven't always addressed is how little we know about each another.
Is domestic terrorism, instigated by white supremacists, such as Breivik, on the rise? Recently, more incidents of hate crimes are reported to be taking place, with alarming frequency. There have been at least seven reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims and mosques in the last 10 days in the United States.
Here in Canada we look down at the U.S. and say, "well, everything is worse down there, more guns, more violence, more racism." Not so fast. According to Statistics Canada figures from 2009, the frequency of hate crimes are up.
To suggests that the latest massacre in America -- the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin -- had anything to do with Muslims is wrong. It has everything to do with the white racist view that people who look different are enemies.
Sikhs were targeted by the apparent "White Power" sicko, ex-soldier Wade Michael Page, because they are identifiably "different" -- not because there is any reason to be upset at what Sikhs do, or represent.