Dawn – Pakistan, Afghan envoys in US trade barbs at Washington moot

Anwar Iqbal

Washington, 21 June 2017. Afghanistan cannot blame Pakistan for all its ills, as terrorist attacks happening there originate in that country, says Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry, Islamabad’s envoy in Washington.

His Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib argues that Afghanistan is not alone in blaming Pakistan; other neighbours, including Iran, also accuse it of interfering in their internal affairs. “Only the fish (of the Arabian Sea) do not because fish do not complain”.

The two ambassadors met on Monday afternoon in a dialogue on ‘Pakistan & Afghanistan relations, diplomacy & security challenges’, organised by a Washington-based think-tank, Indus, at Carnegie Endowment.

While Ambassador Chaudhry stressed the need for a dialogue, reviving the quadrilateral peace process and seeking a political solution to the Afghan conflict, Mr Mohib was not in a reconciliatory mood.

He not only accused Pakistan of stirring troubles in Afghanistan but also asked other nations, like China and the United States, not to give weapons to it. “One day, those weapons will be used against you,” he warned.

He was obviously emboldened by media reports that the Trump administration was ready to harden its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on militants who use their alleged hideouts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas for launching attacks into Afghanistan.

Washington’s options

One report claimed that National Security Adviser General H R McMaster had told Pakistani officials that the US could attack targets inside Pakistan if American hostages held by the Afghan Haqqani militants were killed.

Reports in the US media claimed that the Trump administration was considering various options, which included expanding drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid and eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally.

But there are elements within the US administration that oppose taking such tough measures against Pakistan.

They argue that America’s close ties with India are already pushing Pakistan away and such harsh measures would further reduce Washington’s influence in Islamabad.

Whether motivated by these reports or other factors, the Afghan ambassador minced no words in attacking Pakistan in the dialogue.

“Military grade explosive were used in last month’s truck-bomb attack in Kabul” that killed more than 90 people, he said. “Those are not produced in ungoverned spaces of Afghanistan.”

Ambassador Mohib said that there were several “real issues” in working with Pakistan.

“We must work with Pakistan, yes. Which Pakistan? The one occupied by the military or the civil government?” he asked.

“Policies are made by the military. We are talking about today’s military that has a liberal mindset and uses extremism as tool for foreign policy. This new generation trained by Dawa institutes of Zia. We are seriously concerned about that generation.”

Ambassador Chaudhry began politely, expressing Pakistan’s desire to stay engaged with Afghanistan. “Time and history has shown that when Afghanistan was unstable, instability came to Pakistan as well,” he said.

“We have a genuine interest in a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Mr Chaudhry said the Pakistani economy had stabilised and the country did not want to jeopardise that by seeking instability in Afghanistan.

He said that after the Tora Bora bombing in Afghanistan, militants came to the northern parts of Pakistan, but it had eliminated them from those areas at a huge cost, as 6,000 Pakistani soldiers had laid down their lives in those operations.

“Now peace has been restored and the economy is getting better. Investments are coming. These gains are at risk if Afghanistan does not become stable,” he said.

Kabul government control

Ambassador Chaudhry pointed out that the government in Kabul did not have control over the entire country and militants were using those areas for carrying out their activities, such as the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Nangarhar, which was a matter of concern for Pakistan.

“We are ready to contribute to peace in Afghanistan in whatever way possible,” he said.

“Glad to see the Pakistani economy picking up. So is the Afghan economy,” said Ambassador Mohib, but alleged that the global heroin trade was a third of the Pakistan economy and human trafficking and smuggling also contributed to it.

“We are at threat from these criminals who are threatening to take over,” he said. “No dialogue will succeed unless we are candid. We know what our objectives are. We don’t know what are Pakistan’s objectives.”

Mr Mohib said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had “invested huge political capital” in ties with Pakistan but now he stated that Pakistan was engaged in an undeclared war.

“Nothing new, we have heard this mantra for the last few years,” Ambassador Chaudhry responded. “But we decided not to engage in blame game. It will not help any country.”

He told his Afghan counterpart that it’s “too simplistic to say Pakistan is responsible for all ills of Afghanistan,” and while doing so, the accusers ignored their own problems such as weak governance, corruption, drug trade and economic stress.

“Academically speaking, if the Pak-Afghan border is sealed completely, will it fix Afghanistan?” he asked. “We should show a friendly spirit, which was shown in Astana recently between President Ghani and PM Nawaz Sharif.”

He urged both countries to devise a mechanism to coordinate efforts to defeat terrorism.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1340855/pakistan-afghan-envoys-in-us-trade-barbs-at-washington-moot

The Times of India – The immigrant swansong: New Delhi must tactfully seek to expand freedom of movement for trade and commerce

Chidanand Rajghatta

Op/Ed, 19 June 2017. There’s an old joke about the scene that greeted Neil Armstrong and co when they stepped on the moon: They saw an auto garage shop manned by an Indian Sikh; they drank chai at a tea stall run by a Keralite Malayali; and finally they checked into a motel managed by a Gujarati Patel.

Advancing the script, the first person to travel to Mars in the near future, who may well be of Indian origin, would apocryphally meet a ‘sardar’ managing the Martian branch of Tesla, a ‘Mallu’ (or Goan) running Mars’s first Michelin-star restaurant, and a ‘Gujju’ managing a five-star hotel.

Ethnic stereotyping aside, the legend of the Indian diaspora is immense. There are more than 30 million people of Indian origin across the globe, a population almost the size of Canada’s. There is no country where they are not present, including remote island states such as Nauru in the Pacific and isolated outposts such as Barrow, Alaska.
Their expansive emigration has allowed India to build bridges with countries and communities across the globe, giving New Delhi economic openings, a stake in the political stability and prosperity of resident countries, and geopolitical heft.

Such is the allure of its diaspora for India, in no small measure because of the nearly $70 billion they remit annually, that New Delhi has now developed a template for community outreach whenever the prime minister travels abroad.

Over the years, such community events have become bigger, brighter and more boisterous, as the Indian immigrants have found their voice on the strength of sweat and toil, smarts and savvy, embracing success like few other ethnicities have managed.

Slogans and cries of Bharat Mata ki jai now rend the air in arenas across the globe, from New York’s Madison Square Garden to Sydney’s Super Dome to Dubai’s cricket stadium. (Even in as politically restrictive a country as Saudi Arabia, temporary home to an estimated three million Indian workers, the Indian prime minister recently reached out to the country’s toiling expats.)

Nowhere has the Indian diaspora grown and thrived as much as in America, home to nearly four million People of Indian Origin and Non-Resident Indians, now chronicled extensively as the wealthiest and best-educated community not just in the US, but arguably anywhere in the world.

From architects to astronauts, from yoga instructors to zoo keepers, from law and politics to acting and entertainment, there is not a sphere of activity they haven’t broken into.

With a median family household income of over $1,00,000 and 70% of its adult population holding at least a master’s degree (both way above the US average), this ‘model minority’ is the envy of other nations and, till recently at least, pride of the host country in showcasing its diversity and openness.

Indeed, no country on earth has taken in as many Indians as its citizens as the United States.

There is a growing sense, and a few small indicators, that the historical mandate for openness and acceptance in what is fundamentally an immigrant society is being altered, if not subverted.

Next week, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in the US capital, he will meet the Indian community at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner in neighbouring Virginia, in a modest ballroom of 14,000 square feet that can accommodate some 1,500 people.

This is a far cry from the 15,000 plus people who stampeded into New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 2014 and Silicon Valley’s SAP Center in 2015, two events that set the tempo and provided the template for similar prime ministerial outreach across the world.

Of course, it is possible that availability and security issues may have resulted in a distant venue, but scuttlebutt suggests there is more to this.

Mind you, the capital area’s Indian-origin population is large enough to have merited the Walter E Washington Convention Center (which offers the city’s largest ballroom at 52,000 square feet), or at least the Washington Marriott Wardman Park or Omni Shoreham, venues where Modi’s predecessors Manmohan Singh and AB Vajpayee respectively addressed the community.

But this is not the time, nor the dispensation, with which you share or showcase the strength of the diaspora.

In as much as previous administration officials and US lawmakers were awed by the Madison Square Garden spectacle (and said so publicly), and saw it as a celebration of the country’s diversity, this regime is more likely to see it as a threat.

Already, the signs are not propitious, not just in the US but in many immigrant destinations abroad, including the UK and Australia.

From proposing ideological tests for potential immigrants to shutting down guest worker visas (which have led to US citizenship for many Indians) on the pretext of misuse, nativist boffins have begun to curtail immigration, initiating steps that have also put a hex on Indian students who venture abroad to study, on tourists, and indeed on businesses.

Of course, no country can afford to have open borders and every country needs to regulate inflow of immigrants; New Delhi shouldn’t mind that.

But what India should aim for is to secure and expand the facility of its people to freely travel for education and entertainment, trade and commerce, India’s great strengths, while hoping both for its and America’s sake that the nativist mood against globalisation is a temporary aberration.

Immigration is not the issue; trade and commerce are.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author’s own.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ruminations/the-immigrant-swansong-new-delhi-must-tactfully-seek-to-expand-freedom-of-movement-for-trade-and-commerce/

Baltimore Sun – Sikh arrested in Catonsville over ceremonial knife, released without charges

Jessica Anderson

Baltimore, 16 June 2017. Harpreet Singh Khalsa has worn the ceremonial knife known as a kirpan every day since he converted to Sikhism nine years ago.

“We don’t consider it a knife, but a visual reminder to stand up to justice,” the 33-year-old Baltimore County man said.

But the kirpan is often a cause of misunderstanding by those outside the faith, including law enforcement. Khalsa, who owns a catering business, said he’s been stopped multiple times by police, and was arrested again on Monday outside a Catonsville grocery store after a customer called police.

Khalsa said he explained to the officers that the knife is part of his religion, but they frisked him, took the kirpan, placed him in handcuffs and drove him to the local precinct.

Khalsa was later released without charges, after police “confirmed that the knife was a kirpan and part of his religion, and not a threat to the community,” Baltimore County Officer Jennifer Peach, wrote in an email.

“The officer did follow all Maryland and county laws properly in this incident,” Peach said. “There is no known exception to the deadly weapons laws at this time.”

She said the department is providing education and guidance to its officers about Sikhs and their culture.

“This incident clearly illustrates that this is an increasingly diverse county, and BCoPD works hard to understand and respect the many cultures that call Baltimore County home,” Peach wrote in an email. “Sometimes this poses challenges to our officers, but cultural competency is part of the job, and we are committed to it.”

Such interactions between Sikhs and police are not uncommon.

In many cases, Sikh advocates say, it’s the result of ignorance about traditions of the religion, which was founded more than 500 years ago in the Punjab region of South Asia. Sikhism is now the world’s fifth-largest religion. More than 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States.

As part of their tradition, many Sikhs wear the five articles of faith, which include the kirpan, kesh (long hair), kanga (a small comb), kara (a steel bracelet), and the kachera (shorts).

“The kirpan obligates a Sikh to the ideals of generosity, compassion and service to humanity,” Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the New York-based Sikh Coalition, wrote in an email. “It acts as a reminder to its bearer of a Sikh’s solemn duty to protect others and promote justice for all.”

The Sikh Coalition was founded in 2001 in response to violence against Sikhs after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The organization has assisted individuals in more than 30 criminal cases involving kirpans, and none have resulted in convictions, Kaur said. In most instances, she said, prosecutors dropped the charges.

“Like the broader American community, most police departments have very little knowledge about the Sikh faith and its religious practices,” she said.

Khalsa said he was shopping at around 2:40 p.m. on Monday when police approached him, walked him out of the store and took his kirpan.

Rachel Bereson Lachow captured the arrest on video and posted it to her Facebook page. The 54-second video has been shared 1.6 million times and received hundreds of comments.

Lachow said she watched Khalsa leave the store with police. She said the officers told him to keep his hands away from the knife until they removed it from him.

Lachow said Khalsa continued to tell the officers he was a Sikh and showed the officers his five articles of faith.

Lachow said she hopes the video will raise awareness.

“I think it’s been an enormous force for good,” she said.

Khalsa, who was born as Justin Smith and was raised as a Quaker, said he hopes his experience will help educate the police and the community about his religion because he and many Sikhs have experienced discrimination.

Sikhs still face restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration prohibits “religious knives, swords and other objects” through security checkpoints at airports and requires that the items be packed in checked baggage, agency spokesman Mike England wrote in an email.

Khalsa said he wants to create protection for Sikhs in Maryland. He said the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting at the Sikh Association of Baltimore in Randallstown.

“There’s no oversight whatsoever, so anything can happen to people in our community,” he said. “There’s just so much that needs to be done here.”

“Sometimes this poses challenges to our officers, but cultural competency is part of the job, and we are committed to it.”

Such interactions between Sikhs and police are not uncommon.

In many cases, Sikh advocates say, it’s the result of ignorance about traditions of the religion, which was founded more than 500 years ago in the Punjab region of South Asia. Sikhism is now the world’s fifth-largest religion. More than 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States.

As part of their tradition, many Sikhs wear the five articles of faith, which include the kirpan, kesh (long hair), kanga (a small comb), kara (a steel bracelet), and the kachera (shorts).

“The kirpan obligates a Sikh to the ideals of generosity, compassion and service to humanity,” Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the New York-based Sikh Coalition, wrote in an email. “It acts as a reminder to its bearer of a Sikh’s solemn duty to protect others and promote justice for all.”

The Sikh Coalition was founded in 2001 in response to violence against Sikhs after the attacks of 11 September 2001. The organization has assisted individuals in more than 30 criminal cases involving kirpans, and none have resulted in convictions, Kaur said. In most instances, she said, prosecutors dropped the charges.

“Like the broader American community, most police departments have very little knowledge about the Sikh faith and its religious practices,” she said.

Khalsa said he was shopping at around 2:40 p.m. on Monday when police approached him, walked him out of the store and took his kirpan.

Rachel Bereson Lachow captured the arrest on video and posted it to her Facebook page. The 54-second video has been shared 1.6 million times and received hundreds of comments.

Lachow said she watched Khalsa leave the store with police. She said the officers told him to keep his hands away from the knife until they removed it from him.

Lachow said Khalsa continued to tell the officers he was a Sikh and showed the officers his five articles of faith.

Lachow said she hopes the video will raise awareness.

“I think it’s been an enormous force for good,” she said.

Khalsa, who was born as Justin Smith and raised as a Quaker, said he hopes his experience will help educate the police and the community about his religion because he and many Sikhs have experienced discrimination.

While police said there is no exception to the state’s weapons laws, courts have overwhelmingly found that Sikhs can carry kirpans, said Michael Meyerson, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

A dangerous weapon is determined by intent, Meyerson said. For example, police would not arrest a carpenter carrying potentially dangerous power tools because the intent is not for violence but to build. Conversely, a brick has many nonviolent uses, but with intent could be a deadly weapon.

Meyerson said the police officers should not have arrested Khalsa. A kirpan, “which is known as a sign of devotion,” is not a dangerous weapon under the law, he said.

Sikhs still face restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration prohibits “religious knives, swords and other objects” through security checkpoints at airports and requires that the items be packed in checked baggage, agency spokesman Mike England wrote in an email.

Khalsa said he wants to create protections for Sikhs in Maryland. He said the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting at the Sikh Association of Baltimore in Randallstown.

“There’s no oversight whatsoever, so anything can happen to people in our community,” he said. “There’s just so much that needs to be done here.”

jkanderson@baltsun.com

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/-bs-md-co-sikh-arrest-20170616-story.html

Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) – Sikh community appeal to the five permanent members the UN Security Council to instigate a UN led inquiry into the 1984 Sikh genocide and recognise the demand for a separate Sikh homeland, Khalistan

London, 7 June 2017

The Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) has written to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the 33rd anniversary of the Indian army attack on the Sri Harmandr Sahib Complex in Amritsar in June 1984 and the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

The letter addressed to whoever becomes the next British Prime Minister later this week has been copied to the United States of America, Chinese, French and Russian Governments. The letter states: “the Sikh campaign for Truth, Justice and Freedom is an international campaign requiring the support of foreign governments and the international community.”

Sikhs in the Diaspora are increasingly becoming politically active and beginning to influence policy makers and politicians in the countries in which they live on views about the Narendra Modi led Indian government that has been increasingly targeting minorities.

They have successfully been challenging the negative stereotype and false propaganda created over many years by the Indian authorities.

The letter calls on the next British Prime Minister to hold an independent public inquiry to get to the truth of UK involvement in the 1984 Sikh Genocide. A small Conservative majority or a hung Parliament given the official position of the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party on this issue will increase pressure on the next UK Government to concede to this demand.

The letter states: “The British Sikh response to the revelations (in January 2014) was not to respond by using violence, but use peaceful democratic means such as protests, legal challenge and political pressure to get to the truth.

In turn we need the UK Government to respect our approach and enter a meaningful dialogue at Ministerial level on how best to deliver the truth of UK involvement and assistance from the international community to expose the Indian authorities for failing to deliver justice for the 1984 Sikh Genocide.”

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have been urged to push for a UN-led inquiry into the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities in 1984 and for UN rapporteurs and independent experts to carry out independent investigations into the torture, disappearances, false encounters and extra-judicial executions.

The letter in reference to the right to self determination and the demand for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan continues: “The UK Government working with other permanent members of the UN Security Council has a historic, legal and moral responsibility towards the Sikhs to help through diplomatic means and respect for international law to resolve a conflict that still continues.”

The Sikh Federation (UK) is a prominent member of the Federation of Sikh Organisations and its Chair, Bhai Amrik Singh said:

“The wider public see the Sikh community as a role model community and appreciate they are tolerant, hard working and peace loving people who deserve the support of the international community for a UN-led investigation into the 1984 Sikh Genocide and recognition of our demand for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan.”

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Sikh24.com – Across the globe Sikhs remember 1984 Amritsar attack

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 5 June 2017. In major cities throughout the world, tens of thousands of Sikhs solemnly gathered in remembrance of the attack on the Sri Harmandr Sahib (the GoldenTemple), in Amritsar in 1984.

London, Toronto, Amritsar, San Francisco and many others saw a similar sea of orange and blue and thousands flocked to the streets during parades, seminars and events. Tens of thousands in each city lined up the streets as kirtan (singing), simran (meditation) and speeches echoed through the air.

In Canada the mayor of Brampton, Linda Jeffrey, joined in the remembrance day parade, joining thousands of Sikhs in recalling when the Indian state killed thousands of innocent Sikhs in the holy shrine in Amritsar.

In June 1984 the Indian government attacked Gurdwaras across Punjab simultaneously on the day that Sikhs flock to Gurdwaras to remember the martyrdom of the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

The extra influx of gathering congregation resulted in the tragic slaughter of tens of thousands, which in-turn, triggered a decade of an armed uprising against the state by the Sikhs.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/06/05/across-globe-sikhs-remember-1984-amritsar-attack/#.WTYyrMYlHIU

The Indian Express – US to withdraw from Paris Climate agreement, Donald Trump says deal not tough enough on India, China

“As President I can put no other considerations before the welfare of the citizens,” Donald Trump said after announcing that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

Amitabh Sinha

New Delhi, 2 June 2017. Confirming the worst fears, President Donald Trump today stunned the world with the announcement that the United States would withdraw from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement that seeks to safeguard the planet from the increasingly disastrous impacts of climate change.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump, leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, said in one of the most nervously-anticipated announcements ever.

Trump said he will begin negotiations to “re-enter” the Paris accord or “entirely new” agreement on “terms that are fair to US, its businesses, its people, its taxpayers,” he said. Trump said the agreement was putting every other country at an advantage by putting America at a “great financial disadvantage”. He called the Paris agreement a “self-inflicted major economic wound”.

He said the deal was not tough enough on India and China. “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020,” he said, adding even Europe was allowed to do that. Trump’s decision to withdraw means the United States will become just the third country to remain out of the Paris Agreement, the other two being Nicaragua and Syria, both of which, unlike the US, never joined.

Trump said he was willing to work with Democrat leaders to reenter the Paris agreement on terms fair to the US. “Until we do that, we are out of the agreement,” he said. He said America was committed to protection of environment but the onus had to be borne by all participating countries equally.

The US action jeopardises the carefully built and delicately balanced agreement that was the result of decade-long intense negotiations. The Paris Agreement asks each of its 195 member countries, 194 after US pull out, to make self-determined ‘contributions’ in the global fight against climate change, with the overall objective of restricting the rise of earth’s temperatures to within two degree celsius as compared to pre-industrial times.

Trump had criticised the Paris Agreement, which the United States under the eight years of Barack Obama administration had played a key role in negotiating, during his campaign trail and had promised to pull the US out of it, if elected. He had also described climate change as a ‘hoax’.

To be sure, the Paris Agreement will not fall apart as a result of US withdrawal but there is a possibility of some other countries following suit or losing interest in the agreement objectives.

In the absence of the United States, the biggest historical emitter, the Paris Agreement is also in danger of meeting the fate of Kyoto Protocol that has remained a major under-achiever. Kyoto Protocol is the climate treaty that Paris Agreement seeks to replace.

Negotiated in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to die in 2020. The United States was not a member of the Kyoto Protocol either.

Besides the fact that the emission reductions from the United States are crucial to achieving the global targets, Washington’s ability to mobilise financial and technological resources to fight climate change are absolutely vital for the success of the Paris Agreement.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/us-to-withdraw-from-paris-climate-agreement-president-donald-trump-says-in-interest-of-american-citizens-4684934/

Slate.com – What We Have Unleashed

A long and interesting article about Trump’s USA
Man in Blue

This year’s string of brutal hate crimes is intrinsically connected to the rise of Trump.

Jamelle Bouie

Last week, in Portland, Oregon, a man with a history of white supremacist rhetoric allegedly killed two men and injured one other who had tried to stop his harassment of two young women, one black, the other wearing a hijab.

A week earlier, in College Park, Maryland, another young man, active in white supremacist Facebook groups, killed a black college student after confronting him on the street, according to police.

In March, a white supremacist reportedly traveled from Baltimore to New York City with the express purpose of killing a black man, which he did, before turning himself into police. Earlier that month, a Sikh man was shot and injured in front of his house in a Seattle suburb.

His alleged attacker reportedly shouted “go back to your country.” Days earlier, in Kansas, authorities described how a man walked into a bar and shot three men, including two immigrants from India, after shouting “get out of my country” and yelling racial slurs. One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died of his wounds.

More recently, a California man was alleged to have stabbed a black man with a machete after yelling racial slurs, he’s facing charges, and a Native American man was run down and killed by an assailant who allegedly shouted racial slurs.

These events are not isolated. They represent a growing tide of intolerance in the United States, fanned by the presidential election and embodied by the sitting president. At the same time, they, and the larger forces they represent, aren’t novel.

The rise of racist reaction in politics almost always brings a similar rise of racist violence in civil society. For as much as the current period feels new, we are living through an old, and very American, cycle of behavior.

Nationally, white supremacist and white nationalist activity is on the rise, from more aggressive recruiting online, to active organizing and intimidation on college campuses.

Law enforcement officials in cities such as New York have seen a surge in reported hate crimes, and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports an increase in the number of hate groups. All of this takes place against a backdrop of political intolerance.

Donald Trump ran for president on a platform of ethno-nationalism, offering interested white voters a chance to express and vote their resentments against Hispanic immigrants, Muslim Americans, and groups like Black Lives Matter.

His campaign brought explicitly racist groups, individuals, and institutions into the mainstream, from Steve Bannon, who rode the success of his hate-fueled site Breitbart to a position as a top adviser in the Trump White House, to formerly fringe figures like Iowa Republican Steve King, who routinely traffics in white nationalist rhetoric.

Millions of white Americans stomped the floor for Trump’s promise to end “political correctness” and restore prosperity through tough action against foreign others, turning out at higher numbers than either 2008 or 2012. This rhetoric has a real impact.

A recent working paper suggests that when people view Trump’s popularity as going up, it “increases their willingness to publicly express xenophobic views.” It’s a straightforward idea: High electoral support for a candidate who espouses prejudiced views may shape how individuals perceive the social desirability of those views.

In our case, the election of Trump may have weakened norms against the expression of various bigotries, including racism. To all of this, add the return of “scientific racism” to public view and the recent controversies over Confederate memorials and Confederate remembrance, which have galvanized a broad stripe of racial reactionaries.

The centrality to all this of Trump, a reality television star turned public conspiracy theorist turned president of the United States, makes it unusual, as far as American history goes.

He is a novel figure in the annals of presidential politics, a modern-day P T Barnum representing an extremely ideological and uniquely politically dominant Republican Party. But while we live in somewhat unfamiliar times, the larger dynamic at work is unfortunately too familiar.

Throughout American history, the ascendance of political racism, the use of explicit prejudice to energize voters and win elections, often as a backlash to the social and economic advancement of black Americans and other nonwhite groups, has brought corresponding waves of racial violence.

The “white supremacy” campaign that struck North Carolina in the state’s 1898 elections combined heated, racist rhetoric with a campaign of terror against black Republican voters and their white allies.

Likewise, during the heyday of the civil rights movement, the heated demagoguery of segregationists was fuel for the violent responses that marked the crusade for black rights.

To that point, this week marks the 96th anniversary of the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst anti-black pogroms in American history. The attack began on May 31, 1921, following an accident.

As Tim Madigan details in The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, had stubbed the toe of 17-year-old white elevator operator Sarah Page. (There’s evidence that they knew each other and may have even been romantically involved.)

A clerk in the building heard her scream and saw Rowland fleeing the building. Thinking she had been assaulted, then a common euphemism for rape, the clerk called the police. After speaking with Page, authorities concluded that this was a minor incident, and Page herself declined to press charges.

This may have all dissipated if not for coverage from the Tulsa Tribune, a white-owned newspaper known for virulent racism. The Tribune broke the story of the elevator incident with the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in an Elevator,” with a corresponding editorial titled “To Lynch Negro Tonight”.

From here, events snowballed. Rowland was arrested and taken to the Tulsa County Courthouse, where local whites were gathering. Fearing a lynching, blacks in the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood, including veterans of World War I, armed themselves and went to the courthouse, determined to support the sheriff and defend Rowland.

Seeing armed blacks, this group of whites gathered their own guns, even attempting to raid the local National Guard armory. As tensions built between the thousands of armed whites and the smaller group of armed blacks, a gunshot went off. What followed was a shootout between both groups, leaving 10 whites and two blacks dead or dying.

Gunfights continued throughout the night and into the next day, reaching Greenwood, as armed whites attacked bystanders and set fire to homes. By the morning of June 1, whites were using biplanes to drop incendiary bombs over the neighborhood.

The mob destroyed Greenwood, burning it and its wealth to the ground. Thousands of families fled, and the best estimates suggest a death toll of at least 100.

This history doesn’t just matter as an event in its own right; it matters because of its context. The racist anger of the white citizens of Tulsa, their zeal for vigilante violence, was part of a larger mood of nativism, anti-Semitism, and racism in the United States.

Leading figures like Henry Ford stoked hatred of Jews through the Dearborn Independent, a weekly newspaper with a circulation in the hundreds of thousands. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan claimed millions of members, including influential lawmakers in states and localities across the country.

Woodrow Wilson, who resegregated the federal government and turned a blind eye to lynching, had just left office. He was succeeded by Warren Harding, who embraced the “Anglo-Saxon” chauvinism that consumed American intellectual life at the time.

And countless Americans were still flocking to theaters to catch Birth of a Nation, with its starkly racist imagery and celebration of anti-black vigilantism.

Adding fuel to this fire were the winds of backlash. Tens of thousands of black Americans had served in World War I, and they returned home with a new sense of dignity and worth. They believed that their service entitled them to the fruits of American democracy, to equal rights, equal participation, and equal opportunities.

They were entitled to that, of course. But the truth of that threatened racial hierarchies and white dominance. What followed the end of the war was a nationwide storm of violence against black communities, as white anxiety mixed with racist ideology to produce a wave of racial repression.

Key to all of this is the interplay between racism in culture, in politics, and in public life. Each reinforced the other, creating an atmosphere of hostility and violence that wasn’t otherwise inevitable, even as it had its antecedents.

Put differently, racist violence isn’t spontaneous; it creeps up from fertile ground, feeding on hate and intolerance in the public sphere.

The lynching epidemic exploded with the end of Reconstruction and the reconciliation of Northern and Southern whites under the banner of white supremacy, pogroms in towns like Tulsa occurred in an atmosphere of unimaginably virulent racism, and the killings and assassinations of the civil rights era were inseparable from the segregationist fire-eaters that governed states like Mississippi and Alabama.

Today, the rising pace of hate crimes is tied to a political style that has harnessed and weaponized white resentment by way of an ethno-nationalist movement that sees America in narrow, racially exclusionary terms.

This is why social and political sanctions against racism have historically been so important. This is why we tolerate the public expression of racism at our own peril. Embedded in racism is an eliminationist impulse that grows out of the explicit call for exclusion.

In the right environment, under the right conditions, the call to remove “others” can become a drive to destroy them. We are living in an age of political racism and mainstreamed hate, where white supremacists act and organize in the open, so we are now also living in those conditions. Through our political choices, we have unleashed one of our deadliest legacies. We can already count the victims.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/06/this_year_s_string_of_brutal_hate_crimes_is_intrinsically_connected_to_the.html

Los Angeles Times – Two Texas men get 3 years in prison for beating Sikh man and cutting off his hair

Veronica Rocha

Martinez-California-USA, 18 May, 2017. Two Texas men were sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for severely beating a Sikh man in Richmond, California, and cutting off some of his hair last year, officials said.

Chase Little, 31, of Beaumont, and Colton Leblanc, 25, of Winnie, pleaded no contest to felony assault and committing a hate crime against Maan Singh Khalsa during the September 25 attack. The arrangement was part of a plea deal, according to Simon O’Connell of the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office.

O’Connell said the beating wasn’t just an attack. Little and Leblanc, the prosecutor said, went out of their way to cut Khalsa’s hair, which he maintained unshorn as part of his Sikh faith, “making this so clearly a hate crime.”

“We want to think that crimes like this only occur elsewhere and ‘don’t happen in our community.’ They do,” O’Connell said. “Reducing the frequency of hate crimes starts with recognizing that we need to do a better job of embracing our differences.”

Khalsa, 42, appeared before Judge Patricia Scanlon during the hearing in Martinez, California, and recalled details of the frightening attack. Attorneys released his statement after the hearing.

“Cutting a Sikh’s hair is one of the most humiliating things anyone can do to a Sikh,” he said. “By cutting my hair, the attackers did not just attack my body; they attacked my dignity, my spirit, my faith, my religion and my entire community.”

Khalsa was driving home on the night of the attack and stopped at a red light in Richmond, near Berkeley, when a white Ford F-150, occupied by five people, pulled up next to him, authorities said.

As beer cans were thrown at Khalsa, a motorist nearby called 911. When the light turned green, Khalsa drove off and called 911 as the truck followed him.

While stopped at another red light, two men got out of the truck, ran up to Khalsa’s car, reached into the open window, repeatedly punched his face and yelled profanities.

Khalsa tried to explain to his assailants, saying, “There is a misunderstanding; I am your brother.” He said he didn’t even think about rolling up the window when they approached him.

“My attackers hit me with their fists, knocked off my turban, and yelled, ‘Cut his … hair,’ ” he said in his statement. “They yanked my hair through the window and used a knife to saw parts of it.”

As Khalsa tried to shield his hair, his right pinky was stabbed. His finger eventually was amputated.

When the light turned green, Khalsa drove to a gas station and waited for emergency responders.

But the harm was done, he said, and his life “is forever changed.”

He had a swollen black eye, cuts and bruises, and his teeth were damaged.

Khalsa, an IT specialist at the Social Security Administration, said he emigrated from India in 2003 and always considered himself an American “like everyone else.” He spent most of his time volunteering, rock-climbing with his 8-year-old daughter, working out and horseback riding.

“I had never worried about being a victim of prejudice,” Khalsa said.

However, the actions of Little and Leblanc, he said, “have greatly affected every facet of my life; they have transformed my day-to-day experience and my very outlook on the world.”

Since the attack, Khalsa said he has trouble sleeping and remembering protocols needed for his job, sometimes resulting in mistakes.

After losing his finger, Khalsa said, he struggles to type — an important part of his job. He can’t lift heavy objects and rock climb with his daughter.

Along with the financial and physical toll, Khalsa said he suffers from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

“It’s difficult for me to go outside now without having pepper spray with me,” Khalsa said. “Now, when I interact with strangers, I am not as open as I used to be. I am more likely to view others not as my brothers, but as possible threats to my safety.”

Since the 9/11 attacks, there have been more hate crimes against the Sikh community, according to the Sikh Coalition. In the days after Khalsa’s assault, the coalition urged the Richmond Police Department and the district attorney to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

“Acknowledging that this bias-based attack is a hate crime under state law both recognizes the deep dignitary harm to Mr. Khalsa, and ensures that we, as a society, confront the problems of Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia that make the Sikh community a target for violence,” Sikh Coalition attorney Pawanpreet Kaur said in a statement.

According to O’Connell, a lead prosecutor in the case, Little and Leblanc had no affiliation with hate groups and had no remorse to their prison sentences or Khalsa’s statement.

In his statement, Khalsa spoke directly to his attackers, saying he still considered them brothers.

“I hope that you will learn about me and my community and one day consider me you brother too,” Khalsa said.

Khalsa said it will take years, possibly the rest of his life, to recover from the attack.

“But the recognition of the attack as a hate crime, as harm to my dignity and my entire community, is the first step in the process,” he said.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-richmond-sikh-man-assault-plea-20170518-story.html

DNA India – Sushma Swaraj asks envoy in US to raise Sikh man’s murder

DNA Correspondent

New Delhi, 9 May 2017. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna in the wake of reports of killing of a Sikh man in a suspected hate crime. Her response came after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh brought the incident to her notice on Twitter.

The Punjab Chief Minister on Sunday afternoon tweeted: @SushmaSwaraj Another Sikh youth killed in suspected hate crime in US, seek your help to protect Sikhs living abroad (sic).

The External Affairs Minister responded on Twitter: I have spoken to our Ambassador Mr.Navtej Singh Sarna @IndianEmbassyUS. We are committed to help and protect all Indian citizens abroad.

As per reports, a 32-year-old Sikh man, Jagjeet Singh, a resident of Nadala village in Punjab, was stabbed to death outside a grocery store in California on Friday.

Singh urged the Centre to take up such issues in “right earnest”. He said growing “intolerance” against Indians, which frequently got translated into racist attacks, especially against the Sikh community, needed to be nipped.

“The US alone has witnessed several such attacks on Sikhs, who have been at the receiving end of the growing bigotry in the country”, he pointed out.

The family of Jagjeet also had alleged that his murder was a hate crime as Jagjeet had refused to give a US national a pack of cigarette as the American didn’t produce the mandated identity card for making the purchase.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-sushma-swaraj-asks-envoy-in-us-to-raise-sikh-man-s-murder-2431662

The Hindustan Times – ‘Hate crime’: Punjabi man murdered in US over cigarettes, family in shock

A 32-year-old Nadala resident was stabbed to death by unidentified persons outside a grocery store at Modesto city in California on Friday.

Modesto-Calfornia-USA, 6 May 2017. In a suspected incident of hate crime, a 32-year-old Nadala resident was stabbed to death by unidentified persons outside a grocery store at Modesto city in California, United States, on Friday.

The victim, Jagjeet Singh, was a staffer at the commercial establishment.

A pall of gloom descended on Nadala on Saturday, after Jagjeet’s relatives learnt about his death. According to sources, Jagjeet, or Jagga, had been living with his sister and brother-in-law in Modesto ever since he left for the United States over a year ago.

He is survived by his wife, Kuljeet Kaur, and two sons, Ishmeet Singh (9) and Dilpreet Singh (7), who reside in Kapurthala. Jagjeet had three siblings, two younger sisters and an elder brother settled in France.

“I was told by Sikander Singh, a co-worker at the store, that Jagjeet has fallen victim to a hate crime,” said Kanwarjit Singh Cheema, the victim’s brother-in-law. Sikander had witnessed Jagjeet’s stabbing, he added.

According to Kanwarjit, a man, apparently a US national, came to the store around 11.30 pm and asked for a pack of cigarettes. However, Jagjeet refused to hand it over because the customer was unable to produce the mandated identity card for making the purchase.

The man then reportedly left the store in a fury, mouthing racist abuses and warning Jagjeet of dire consequences. The entire sequence was captured by a CCTV camera installed in the store premises.

Kanwarjit said when Jagjeet went out a few minutes later, he was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon. He succumbed en route to a local hospital.

His father, Mohinder Singh, was inconsolable. “Jagjeet was a kind-hearted and hardworking person. We will miss him,” he said. “He went to the US one-and-a-half years ago to support the family. We took loans from relatives to send him there”.

The family said that though police are investigating the case, the attackers are yet to be arrested. “We will decide when to cremate him after receiving his body from the hospital,” Mohinder Singh told HT.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hate-crime-punjabi-man-murdered-in-us-over-cigarettes-family-in-shock/story-6HLqDFp3FdTtEgmN5mENkI.html