From The New York Times
Sikhs attended a vigil in Oak Creek, Wis., on Aug. 7, 2012 after the killing of six worshipers at a nearby temple.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, rumors proliferated that Barack Obama was a Muslim who had been indoctrinated into militant Islam during childhood studies in a madrassa. The fact that the Democratic candidate had been a prominent and visible member of a Protestant church in Chicago for years somehow mattered not at all. The Obama campaign even created a Web site wholly devoted to answering conspiracy theories and smears.
Ultimately, though, it took a Republican in the form of Colin L. Powell to speak truth to fantasy. “He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian,” the retired general and former cabinet secretary said on “Meet the Press.” “But the really right answer is, What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that’s not America.”
Mr. Powell’s words echo now in the aftermath of last weekend’s massacre of six worshipers at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. The narrative that has emerged in both media coverage and public discourse since then has been one of religious mistaken identity. It presumes that the suspect, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page, may have shot the Sikhs because he ignorantly believed they were Muslim.