There was a horrendous event at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this morning when a gunman shot down a number of worshipers.
The gunman was later killed by a police officer, who was wounded but is expected to survive.
The officer was wounded but "returned fire, and that shooter was put down," said Bradley Wentlandt, the police chief in nearby Greenfield, who briefed reporters. Investigators who picked through the building afterward found four bodies inside the temple and two other victims outside, plus the gunman, Wentlandt said.
Though early reports had suggested there may have been more than one attacker, he said officers had not identified any other gunmen.
The temple members have confirmed that the killer was not a member of the temple, so this was an outside job - someone who targeted the temple, knew when the Sikhs would be present and planned accordingly.
Early headlines reported a hostage situation in progress, and the local SWAT team was called. Interestingly enough, so was the FBI and The Joint Terrorism Task Force, a little known organization which responds to terrorist attacks. There are several of these task forces situated around the country. In the case of a normal lunatic and mass shooting, neither the FBI or the JTTF would be called in.
Another interesting tidbit about this is that the perpetrator, who was shot and killed outside the temple has yet to be identified.
Several articles mention that Sikhs have occasionally been subjected to attacks by the ignorant in the belief they are Muslims, since many of the males wear beards and turbans. You might remember that a Sikh gas station owner was shot and killed by some idiot after 9/11, in Arizona if memory serves me.
The supreme irony of this is that Sikhs and Muslims have an extremely hostile relationship that goes back centuries, since the days of the Muslim jihad against India. The Sikhs fought successfully against the Muslim Mughal empire after the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed by the Muslims after refusing to convert to Islam, and many Sikhs were killed during the violence surrounding the partition of India in 1947. The animosity continues to the present day. And in modern times there have been several incidents of Muslims attacking Sikh Temples in India.
That's one reason I believe President Obama refused to visit The Golden Temple(Harimandir Sahib ) in Amritsar, India, a religious site for Sikhs equivalent to the Western Wall for Jews in Israel or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christians. He was anxious not to do anything that might upset the Muslim world he's been trying to so desperately to appease throughout his term in office.
But that aside, it brings up an interesting possibility.
Was this an instance of an Islamist terror attack against a Sikh temple here in America? Is that why the FBI and the JTTF were involved, and why the killer hasn't been identified yet? The early reports of a hostage situation likewise don't quite jibe with the idea of a lone lunatic with a gun.
Perhaps I'm mistaken, and it may simply be an Aurora copycat. But the details released thus far point to that possibility, and let's say I wouldn't be surprised.
There are reports that the killer was 'a white male in his thirties', but that would not preclude an Islamist connection even if it turns out to be true. The use of what al Qaeda refers to as 'white moors' has happened before as well.