Are Sikhs exposed to racism in Germany?

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This content was published on August 6, 2012 - 11:48 pm (Keystone-SDA)

Tragic mix-up of a deluded and armed racist? The bloodbath in a Sikh temple in the US state of Wisconsin may have been racially motivated. And: The assassin - an ex-soldier - may have thought his victims were Muslims.

The perpetrator, who shot and killed six people in front of and in the church in Oak Creek near Milwaukee on Sunday, was identified as a former military service on Monday. The perpetrator was killed in an exchange of fire with the police on Sunday.

The 40-year-old was a trained parachutist and specialized in psychological warfare, as the Pentagon announced in Washington on Monday. Accordingly, he was in the US Army from 1992 to 1998. The defense ministry said the man was released for repeated "misconduct".

"Frustrated Neo-Nazi"

The racism research institute Southern Poverty Law Center said the alleged gunman was a "frustrated neo-Nazi".

The ex-soldier was the head of a "racist" rock band called End Apathy, which propagated the superiority of whites. With the group, founded in 2005, he performed at music festivals.

No official information on the motif

The investigators did not want to comment on the assassin's motive. According to the police, the investigation is conducted by the Federal Police FBI, as an act of domestic terrorism is assumed.

According to a spokesman for the US Weapons, Tobacco and Explosives Agency, investigators are investigating reports that the man was a racist.

"And we are investigating the meaning of his tattoos. These are the pieces of the puzzle that will help us understand the motives for such a horrific act," said the spokesman.

According to US media reports, a tattoo on the gunman's arm made reference to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. The speculation that the shooter could have mistaken his victims for Muslims is based on the "9/11" tattoo.

Sikhs are mistaken for the Taliban

The president of the ward is one of the victims in the temple. Three people were seriously injured in the attack, including a police officer.

Sikhs in the United States have seen growing aversion since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. One Sikh told the New York Times that some consider Sikhs to be members of the radical Islamic Taliban because many of them wear turbans. Since "9/11" the Sikh coalition in the USA has counted more than 700 incidents which are attributed to Islamophobia.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that emerged in India in the 15th century. It has 27 million followers worldwide, including an estimated 500,000 in the United States.

Mosque set on fire

Less than a day after the attack on Sunday, a mosque was also destroyed in an alleged arson attack in the American Midwest. The Muslim place of worship in Joplin, Missouri, burned down completely during the night, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said on Monday.

On July 4th, US Independence Day, a stranger had thrown an incendiary device on the mosque. Back then, there was only little damage. Community members assumed on Monday a racist or anti-Islamic arson attack. Since it was founded in 2007, the mosque has been the target of constant attacks.

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