Flags Half-Staff for Charleston South Carolina Church Massacre, All Except the Confederate

kkk robe henry ford museum and greenfield village, photo by dan gaken

kkk robe henry ford museum and greenfield village, photo by dan gaken

CHARLESTON, South Carolina - On 10 July 2015 during a historic ceremony, the Confederate flag which had flown full mast at the the South Carolina Statehouse for 50 years despite numerous efforts to have it removed. It was a symbol of defiance from a sect of people who protested against the Civil Rights movement and integration of all public facilities, including schools and transportation.

It was because of the heinous act of violence perpetrated by Dylann Roof, 21, that the groundswell of pressure from local, state, and national entities forced the government to respond. "Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill Thursday, 9 July 2015 to relegate the Confederate flag to the state's "relic room."

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19 June 2015 - Dylann Roof, 21, has been identified as the assailant who allegedly sat and prayed during a fellowship meeting Wednesday night at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Survivors recount how Roof with malice aforethought shot and killed nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the heart of Charleston's tourist district. Eight died at the scene; a ninth died at a hospital.

According to CNN and other news outlets, six women and three men were killed, including the church's politically active pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney, a black Democratic lawmaker. The lone survivor who pretended to be dead, confided in her friend afterwards, that Roof shouted long espoused racists rhetoric along the lines of black men raping white women and taking over the country presumably in reference to the first African-American President Barak Obama.

A law enforcement official said witnesses told authorities the gunman stood up and said he was there "to shoot black people” and subsequent investigations into Roof’s background revealed that he possessed racists memorabilia, and expressed Confederate sympathies, though it is not clear that he officially belong to any white supremacists groups.

For the family and friends of the nine people Roof murdered in a racist and premeditated act of violence, the trauma is just beginning and our hearts and prayers go out to them. There are many different national news outlets discussing, analyzing, and updating American citizens on the latest developments in the case. But, a less discussed, but equally important aspect of this case is the climate of racism in the heart of South Carolina’s government as demonstrated in its choice to continue to fly the Confederate Flag above the South Carolina State House.

According to Schuyler Kropf, “Officials said the reason why the flag has not been touched is that its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.

State law reads, in part, the state “shall ensure that the flags authorized above shall be placed at all times as directed in this section and shall replace the flags at appropriate intervals as may be necessary due to wear.”

The protection was added by supporters of the flag to keep it on display as an officially recognized memorial to South Carolinians who fought in the Civil War. Opponents say it defends a system that supported slavery and represents hate groups.” (Source: Post and Courier)

What many people don’t understand, and almost certainly those unfamiliar with the history of slavery in America, is the magnitude of racism and oppression that this flag represents. It connotes the same venomous hatred and violence towards blacks as the white robe and hood of the KKK. It is the heart and soul and standard-bearer to those who proudly proclaim that “the South will rise again!” A “South” where blacks were kept in their place, preferably enslaved or at least subjugated, where enforcement of Jim Crow statues were meted out by members of a number of white supremacists groups, most notably the Klu Klux Klan (KKK).

At a time when South Carolinians are shocked and appalled at the calculated massacre perpetrated in the name of white power, one would think that the State House would have the decency to remove or at least lower the Confederate Flag to half-staff as were the U.S. and S.C. flags. Nationally, states and the federal government lowered the flag to express solidarity with the victims and sadness at the horror. But, the most recognizable emblem of the Confederacy, KKK, white supremacists and their politics, towered proudly above even the U.S. flag, the flag of the American nation.

This obvious display was a not so subtle assertion that the racially motivated massacres were unimportant and not worthy of acknowledgment. That in fact, State Senator Pinckney’s life was of no value, that all attempts to remove this racist symbol will continue to fail, and that Confederate sympathizers and white supremacists have a chance to return to the halcyon days of old. An obstinately proud symbol of the time when the Confederacy legislated that blacks deserved no honor, no justice, and no acknowledgement.

It is unfathomable that this emblem of racism cannot be removed or lowered without a legislative vote. This is the time when black and white South Carolinians should stand up not only for justice for the victims, but should also demand the removal of this symbol of oppression and domestic terrorism which is displayed in their name. To remain silent is tantamount to tacit approval, and ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke

 

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Chapel Hill Atheist, Craig Hicks, Executes Muslim Family Over Parking Spot

atheist stamp, photo by mark hassed

atheist stamp, photo by mark hassed

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina – Three young people were murdered execution style on Wednesday, February 11th. The community and subsequently people from around the world were shocked by the news that these young Muslims had each been shot in the head.

They were newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, and his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Yusor's sister, Razan Mohammad.

Barakat who was an American of Syrian descent according to Reuters "wrote in his last Facebook post about providing free dental supplies and food to homeless people in downtown Durham. He was also raising funds for a trip to Turkey with 10 other dentists to provide free fillings, root canals and oral hygiene instruction to Syrian refugee children." (Source: Reuters)

There is a push to have this heinous crime classified as a 'hate crime' because the victims were Muslim and they were murdered by a White American man. The Hate Crime Law was enacted to charge people with crimes against individuals because of their race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or disability.

The KKK and other White Supremacists who murdered African-Americans during the Civil Rights era, were brought to justice decades later under this statute. It would seem that Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, fits the profile of a racist, and though this may have been a contributing factor, it doesn't seem to be the only motivation.

According to residents of the complex where Barakat lived, Craig had a volatile disposition and had engaged in numerous hostile altercations with neighbors over limited parking. He was vitriolic and abusive in words and deeds when he perceived that someone had gotten a spot that he deserved. His behavior was frightening and he was definitely out of control even with other non-Muslim residents as described by those who had interacted with him on previous occasions.

However, in every other case Craig did not then act upon his grievance by going to get a gun and shoot the individual who was the object of his contempt. In the case of Barakat, Craig with malice aforethought, went to get a gun, pushed into Barakat's condominium where it is presumed he wantonly executed the three young, bright, high-achievers.

Although Craig's wife has tried to defend his actions by saying that he is not a racist, other news reports claim that he often made fun of the Barakat and his wife Yusor because of their dress. Why he chose to kill Barakat, Yusor, and Razan and not others is at the crux of the matter. Perhaps racism was the a factor in the murders, but it may have been his anti-religious stance that was the subtext.

Last month, Hicks posted a photograph that said, “Praying is pointless, useless, narcissistic, arrogant, and lazy; just like the imaginary god you pray to.” It is also reported that he is also an Anti-theists, which is an even more radical sect of atheists who are particularly outspoken and confrontational about their disbelief, researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga said in a recent study.

"Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental," the researchers wrote. "The anti-theist has a clear and -- in their view, superior -- understanding of the limitations and danger of religions." (Source: CNN)

For someone who took umbrage with God, and who was already predisposed to dislike Muslims, it is quite likely that by eradicating these young people, who were devout and publicly Muslim, he was able to kill two birds with one stone. Meaning, he was able to demonstrate his disdain of religion and its adherents, particularly those who followed the Abrahamic faiths - Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, especially the latter for which he had a virulent dislike; plus kill Barakat, his new wife, and her sister.

We may never know the answer, and in fact, no answer will assuage the pain of the parents of these three young victims. However, whether or not these murders are classified as a 'hate crime,' the killings shed light on the increasing levels of Islamophobia both in America and Europe, as well as a trend towards Secularism and Atheism in our society.

When a man does not believe in a higher power or accountability, he will do whatever is right in his own eyes, and is capable of doing whatever it takes to get what he wants. In this case, Craig the atheist wanted a parking space.

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White Supremacist Anders Breivik Convicted

anders-behring-breivik-cropped-photo-by-asian-media.jpg

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 11:54 a.m. EDT, 24 August 2012

Anders Behring Breivik, Photo by Asian MediaOSLO, Norway - Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people during a hate fueled killing spree in July 2011 has been convicted. His reign of terror began when he bombed a government building using a homemade fertilizer bomb much like the American domestic terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

Breivik killed eight people in the government building attack before driving to the island of Utøya where he embarked on a shooting rampage at a Labor party youth summer camp. During his trial he stated that he was fighting “ethnic cleansing of indigenous Norwegians” through multicultural policies that he says have allowed “Muslim colonization.”

Today, in a Norwegian court, Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen declared that Breivik, a Nazi sympathizer, was sane at the time of the attacks and thus is guilty of murder. She then sentenced him to the maximum punishment under Norwegian law of 21 years of permanent detention, and a minimum of 10, for “terrorist acts.”

Though the Norwegian penal code does not have a provision for life in prison, Breivik’s sentences can be extended in five-year increments if Breivik is determined to be an ongoing danger to society. The judgment was a “unanimous” decision delivered by the five-judge panel minutes after Breivik arrived into court wearing a contemptuous and defiant smile.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAdkS4g2Z5g]

Family members of the victims were openly grieving by crying and sobbing as Breivik arrived in court and confidently stood to hear the sentence pronounced. He reacted with insouciance and obvious pleasure during his sentencing. He had previously demanded the death sentence but Judge Arntzen delivered a verdict that is the harshest possible under the Norwegian penal code.

The decision was greeted with relief by the families of the 77 people killed, most of whom were teenagers. This closure comes after 13 months of adjudication during which the families had to relive each agonizing account of the deaths of their beloved ones while Breivik engaged in hate filled antics. In keeping with his behavior during the trial, Breivik was defiant and demonstrated no remorse.

By contrast, a member of his defense council apologized to the families of the victims for the pain his client caused them, despite the fact that lead council had argued that Breivik should have been remanded to a mental health facility. Breivik hoped that he would be determined as sane because in his opinion it would bolster his ‘militant nationalist’ philosophy.

Ten minutes ago it was reported that Breivik apologized to 'militant nationalist' for not having killed more people during his terror spree.

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Domestic Terrorist Kills Sikh Worshipers

sikh-man-mourning-photo-by-roel-wijnants.jpg

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:51 PM EDT, 5 August 2012

Updated 14:20 pm EDT, 6 August 2012:
Wade Michael Page, Perpetrator of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple ShootingAccording to USA Today, the man who fatally shot six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin was identified today as Army veteran Wade Michael Page, 40, pictured to the left, who washed out of the military in 1998 after a six-year hitch.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that has studied hate crimes for decades, says on its website that Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band known as End Apathy."

OAK CREEK, Wisconsin - Yesterday, Wade entered a Sikh Temple and open fire on congregants of the 400 member temple, killing 6 people before police shot and killed him. Reportedly the lone gunman also shot a policeman 8 times as he was helping one of the victims who had been attending a birthday party. The police officer is in critical condition but is expected to live. Though it is early in the investigation, authorities have tentatively labeled this as a domestic terrorist hate crime.

Attacks against Sikhs have increased significantly since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attack. Though Sikhs are primarily Indian, because of their habiliment and skin tone, many xenophobes label them as Islamic terrorists. Sikhism was founded in South Asia 16th century in Punjab India. It is a monotheistic faith and has almost 27 million adherents worldwide, with the majority residing in India and about 500,000 live in the United States.

The Washington-based Sikh Coalition has reported more than 700 incidents in the U.S. since 9/11, which advocates blame on anti-Islamic sentiment. Observant Sikh men do not cut their hair or beards which are considered sacred – and instead twist and cover the unshorn locks with turbans, and thus are often mistaken for Muslims.

Though there is no direct link to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, the racial sentiment that has been fomented by the extreme right-wing members of the American electorate seems to have provided hate groups and domestic terrorists with a thinly veiled justification to harm any person they do not understand or who doesn’t look like them.

This is the same population that is vehemently anti-President Barak Obama simply because he is a man of color, and despite evidence to the contrary, they persist in believing that he is Muslim and a Communist.

According to reports, 'The White House said President Obama was aware of the shooting and was being kept up to date by the FBI who has taken over the investigation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued a statement, saying, "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence."'

The shooter was allegedly a Caucasian male who was armed with a 9-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol, was heavily tattooed, wore a white t-shirt and black military BDU pants. The first responders, including the policeman who was shot by the gunman, have been credited with saving additional lives because of their prompt intervention. Oak Creek emergency medical personnel identified seven people dead - four inside the temple and three outside, including the suspect.

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