BY S. AMJAD HUSSAIN
Most Americans reacted with disgust and revulsion when a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara and killed six innocent people in suburban Milwaukee this month.
It is heartwarming that all segments of society condemned this wanton act of terrorism, and the bizarre philosophy that underpins such acts. But we seldom reflect on why such things happen. What compels a man such as Wade Michael Page to go on a rampage?
Perhaps the same reasons compelled U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychologist, and Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, each of whom faces charges in mass shootings, to kill innocent people in the cause of something they hold dear.
The incident in Milwaukee could have been a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps the gunman thought he was avenging the 9/11 attacks on America. Most likely, he did not know the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim.
The media and its talking heads have a tendency to dismiss such an incident as the work of a lone, crazy man. But how could we not think that the xenophobic hatemongering that emanates from some Protestant pulpits and the ranting of right-wing radio shock jocks and born-again patriots might have something to do with it?
Since 9/11, foreigners in general and Muslims in particular have been under scrutiny in our country. A certain brand of Christianity has played a devilish role in creating an atmosphere that provides oxygen to the ruthless and the mindless.