U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder clarified the federal government’s position on the recent shooting of six people at a Sikh temple by claiming that the attack was “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred, a hate crime,” according to CNN.com.
Holder spoke this week at a memorial service for the victims of the senseless attack that occurred several days ago in a Milwaukee suburb.
The attack was launched by a disturbed veteran of the Army who reportedly killed himself after being severely injured by police gunfire. His suicide, however, occurred after he had killed a half dozen innocent victims.
The tragedy occurred at a Sikh gurdwara, a traditional house of worship, which served as a sanctuary for Sikhs, who wear turbans and have dark skin, which often leads people to mistake them for Muslims.
And in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, sources say that vigilante racists have targeted the Sikh community due to their superficial resemblance to some Muslims.
According to Holder, “[i]n the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted and victimized simply because of who they are, how they look, and what they believe. That is wrong. It is unacceptable. And it will not be tolerated.”
In his speech, Holder asked for Congress to consider changing criminal laws to prevent such senseless acts in the future, although he did not mention any specific changes he might recommend.
At the ceremony, a video screen displayed photos of both the people who died in the accident, as well as people who were injured during the shooting spree.
Among the injured were police Lt. Brian Murphy, a first responder who remains in the hospital as he receives treatment for multiple injuries, as well as two members of the Sikh faith, Punjab Singh and Santokh Singh, one of whom remains in critical condition.
The shooter, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, saved himself from an impossible criminal defense by killing himself before he was arrested, but his notoriety will linger for centuries in the Milwaukee suburb where he unleashed his evil deed.
Sources say that investigators have yet to find any clues explaining why Page, who is the front man in a white supremacist rock band, went on the shooting spree.
Recent reports, however, have claimed that Page made his racist views very apparent during his brief military stint in the 1990s and that his friends say his hateful attitudes grew stronger after he left the Army.