In this editorial commentary on WISC-TV, Neil Heinen says: “It’s clear to us the comfort with which public figures are using hateful speech is emboldening those prone to act on their hatred.” And he lauds We Are Many-United Against Hate for making it clear.
One of the many valuable lessons we have learned in the last few years from the Madison-based We Are Many United Against Hate anti-hate organization is not letting any hate-motivated crime go un-remarked upon. To be silent is to be complicit in fomenting hate.
Leadership matters. The words of leaders matter. They can wound. They can heal. They can incite people to violence. They can bring people back from the brink of madness. They can effectively issue a license to hate and inspire ugly racist incidents and domestic terrorism by white supremacists, as the toxic rhetoric from the highest levels of our government is doing, says We Are Many-United Against Hate’s founder Masood Akhtar in this commentary published by the Wisconsin Examiner.
An ugly incident on Milwaukee’s south side where Mahud Villalaz, a 42-year-old U.S. citizen who immigrated from Peru, had acid thrown in his face is the tragic but inevitable byproduct of r elentless scapegoating and demonizing of immigrants by elected officials from the president on down.
An ugly incident on Milwaukee’s south side where a 42-year-old Latino who is an American citizen had acid thrown in his face outside a local restaurant is the tragic but inevitable byproduct of relentless scapegoating and demonizing of immigrants by elected officials from the president on down, We Are Many-United Against Hate founder and president Masood Akhtar asserted.
“Immigrant bashing is being regularly employed for political gain. The vacuum of moral leadership at the highest levels of our government gives a license to hate and inspires ugly racist incidents and domestic terrorism by white supremacists,” Akhtar said. “It’s no accident that there has been a 20% increase in the number of hate groups in America just since 2014. Fifteen such groups are operating in Wisconsin. The president and other top U.S. officials have effectively granted a prejudice permit for such activity.”
A 61-year-old man was arrested in connection with the acid attack that police are investigating as a hate crime.
“This kind of criminal activity and the political behavior that encourages it is a stain on our country,” said Akhtar, a 35-year resident of the U.S. and longtime American citizen. “Openness to foreigners has been a defining characteristic of America and is essential to who we are as a nation. Immigration has always made our country stronger, it has never made us weaker. Diversity is our great strength, it is our competitive advantage over other countries.”