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National Coalition Decries Wisconsin Shooting As Symptomatic of Hate-Filled Xenophobia; Calls for Government Action

The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) joins with President Barack Obama and organizations

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For Immediate Release

around the country in offering deep sympathy and support to the families of the victims of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting. This tragedy, which targeted a peaceful community of South Asian religious worshipers, is only the latest in a string of violent attacks that have been perpetrated by individuals bent on violence and murder. NCPCF agrees with the FBI that this senseless tragedy was indeed an act of domestic terrorism. The revelation that the gunman –described as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" by the Southern Poverty Law Center– actively participated in the white supremacist music underworld suggests that this was a hate crime.              

 

            As a national organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of civil freedoms for all Americans, NCPCF suggests immediate implementation of the following actions to prevent future tragedies:

 

1. President Obama, as well as congressional, religious, and community leaders nationwide, must undertake a sustained educational campaign throughout the country to change the atmosphere of hate and intolerance against religious and racial minorities that threatens to engulf us all. Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims or Arabs and have inadvertently become targets of anti-Muslim bias in the United States. If this misidentification turns out to be the case in the Wisconsin massacre, all U.S. citizens should be made aware from the highest levels of government that the U.S. is not at war with either Sikhism or Islam, and that American Sikhs and Muslims are loyal citizens and have been innocent victims of an intolerable campaign of xenophobia and Islamophobia.

 

2. Hate crimes and subsequent inaction by the U.S. government start with the illegitimate law enforcement practice of ethnic or religious profiling. It is time for Congress to pass the End Racial Profiling legislation, which has been pending for many years in Congress.

 

3. Studies have repeatedly shown that there is a greater threat of domestic terror from right-wing hate groups than from so-called Islamic extremists. A 2009 FBI press release listed “highly destructive eco-terrorists,” “hate-filled white supremacists,” “violence prone anti-government extremists,” and “radical separatist groups” as the top domestic threats to America, ahead of Islamic extremists. Yet most of the FBI’s attention has been directed at manufacturing charges against innocent Muslims who fit their profile, rather than pursuing the real threats of violence. It is time for the FBI to redeploy its resources to give balanced protection to the country rather than to focus all of its resources on a lesser danger simply to suit political agendas.    

 

4. Mass shootings happen in the U.S. far more than in other countries because our gun laws allow one hate-filled individual with an assault weapon to multiply his hate hundreds of times over. The gun used in this attack was legally purchased, so it is time that we started a direct national conversation about the discrepancies between assuring civil freedoms and the occurrence of gun violence. 

 

NCPCF Executive Director Steve Downs has called on President Obama and congressional leaders to immediately seize the opportunity to address these concerns and start the healing process not only through leading the national conversation towards our common values, but also by isolating the agents of hate, intolerance, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. 

 

End.

 

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