Shooting in Sikh temple: Hate crime? Domestic terrorism?

Read few comments.

J. M. BergerInvestigative Journalist, Specialist on Homegrown Extremism, Author of Jihad Joe

Page was definitely an ideological white supremacist. He was deeply involved in the movement and performed with at least three “white power” bands. The lyrics of the songs he performed clearly indicate he believed that whites should start a race war against nonwhites, and his beliefs and lifestyle reflect the racist skinhead movement, which has historically been strongly involved with organized racism. So it’s safe to say he was profoundly involve with organized white supremacy groups, and his actions were almost certainly racially motivated. What we don’t know yet is whether he had support in his plans from other people in the movement. But because of the ideological component, this definitely qualifies as a domestic terrorism case.

Stephen SloanLawrence J. Chastang Distinguished Professor of Terrorism  Studies, University of Central Florida

It is not clear yet and I must add that I am not an attorney. But one can suggest the following. If the shooter selected the targets specifically because of their religion and ethnicity is probably a hate crime. If the shooter engaged in the act to make a political statement it may be viewed to be a case of a “lone wold” terrorist. If the shooter is motivated by of an organization that uses violence to achieve its goals and more specifically is a member of such an organization then one can suggest it is an act of terrorism.

Bear in mind, the individuals in the Temple were clearly terrorized but terrorism is the use of violence to coerce, persuade and gain public attention, particularly in reference to a political cause.

James Nolan, Associate Professor, Division of Sociology and Anthropology, West Virginia University

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual-orientation. Recent news reports have indicated that Wade Michael Page, the shooter in this incident, has had ties to white supremacist groups and was involved with White Power music. The investigation in this case is ongoing, but if this is true it would appear that the incident may be a hate crime.

Mathieu DeflemProfessor, Department of Sociology, University of South Carolina, Author of the book  The Policing of Terrorism

Regardless of how the crime will be classified, if there is any way to connect it with terrorism (primarily because of the moties of the gunman), then it will be related to terrorism because terrorism is still an issue that looms on the minds of people. My guess is that it is more likely for this crime to be classified as a crime because it relates to the Sikh religion, which is outside the realm of the mainstream.


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