On August 5, 2012 just after 10 a.m., Michael Wade Page opened gunfire on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, forever changing the lives of South Asians in America. At the time, congregants were gathered for Sunday service and many women and children were preparing the regular Sunday meal. But instead of a regular Sunday celebration, the community was met with tragedy. When Page opened fire, women and children hid in pantries and closets for about an hour while law enforcement attempted to get the situation under control. By the conclusion, Page had stolen life from the temple president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, three priests, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh and Prakash Singh, and two congregants, Suveg Sing Khattra and Paramjit Kaur.
Unfortunately, the Oak Creek incident has not been the only hate crime this month; there have been many recent incidents that appear to be hate crimes.
- 8/4/12: In Hayward, California, four teenagers pelted the American Muslim Association site with oranges and lemons, striking at least one congregant. Many congregants were praying inside.
- 8/5/12: At Masjid Al-Islam in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, an individual broke off and stole a piece of a mosque sign.
- 8/6/12: In Joplin, Missouri, the Islamic Society’s mosque suspiciously burned to the ground, just one month after an attempted arson on the mosque.
- 8/7/12: In Ontario, California, two women in a white pick-up truck left three pig legs in the driveway of the site of a planned mosque, while congregants prayed.
- 8/10/12: At the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove, Illinois, a man shot a “high velocity air rifle” (pellet rifle) during Friday evening Ramadan prayers while almost 500 congregants were in attendance.
- 8/12/10: In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, numerous paintballs were fired at the door of the Grand Mosque. The mosque’s imam initially thought the shots were gunfire.
- 8/12/12: At the College Preparatory School of America in Lombard, Illinois, a 7-up bottle with household chemicals was thrown at a school window during nightly Ramadan prayers.
- 8/12/12: In Dearborn, Michigan, it was discovered that two church windows were broken over the course of the prior weekend at the Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church, which is primarily attended by Arab and Middle Eastern communities.
- 8/15/12: In Panama City, Florida, a firebomb was thrown at the home of a South Asian, Muslim family at 3:45am, setting off a fire.
- 8/15/12: In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dalbir Singh was shot and killed at Harmony Foods when a bullet was fired through the door of the store, which was owned by his nephew. He was a member of the temple in Oak Tree, Wisconsin that was attacked on August 5th, though he was not present on that day.
- 8/16/12: In Evergreen Park, Illinois, hate graffiti was recently discovered on multiple graves, including spray painting the words “raghaed killer” on one grave and insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on others. The cemetery has approximately 500 Muslim graves and the area includes a large population of Muslim and Arab Americans.
- 8/19/12: In Staten Island, New York, bacon was found scattered and in packages in a park where approximately 1500 Muslims gathered to celebrate Eid.
- 8/21/12 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a Somali Muslim congregant’s car was set on fire outside the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center after the arsonist spent approximately an hour trying to set fire to the institution.
- 8/26/12 At Michigan State University, a 19 year old student was attacked by two men, after they asked if he was Jewish, raised their arms in a Nazi salute, and chanted “Heil Hitler.” They knocked the student unconscious and stapled his mouth, through his gums.
- 8/29/12 In Evergreen Park, Illinois, another grave was vandalized with profanity, gang symbols, and anti-Islamic slurs. This is the same cemetery where graves were desecrated around August 16th.