Subject HOW ABOUT SOME HATE-CRIMES TRIALS? Written 1251 pm Feb 18, 1991 by pnmideast in cd
Subject: HOW ABOUT SOME HATE-CRIMES TRIALS?
Written 12:51 pm Feb 18, 1991 by pnmideast in cdp:mideast.forum
From well!antenna Sun Feb 17 20:40 PST 1991
Subject: ADC Report on Hate Crimes
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
4201 Connecticut Ave., NW - Suite 500
Washington, DC 20008 USA
Note to Editors: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
(ADC) is the largest Arab-American organization in the country.
It is a service organization dedicated to promoting the civil and
legal rights of people of Arab descent, including resistance to
racism, discrimination, and stereotyping of Arab-Americans. ADC
has over 25,000 members organized into 70 chapters throughout
For Immediate Release Contact: Scott Easton
February 6, 1991 PHONE 1-202-244-2990
1990 ADC Annual Report on Political and Hate Violence
Issued: February 1991
This is the second in a series of reports documenting political and hate
violence directed against the Arab-American community. Like the first report
issued in 1987, the data are based on a computerized log of reports filed
with the national office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
(ADC). The purpose of this report is to inform, sensitize and alert the
American public and responsible government officials to the increased
vulnerability of the Arab-American community to acts of ethnically and
politically motivated violence.
ADC is a grassroots civil rights organization that was founded in 1980 by
former U.S. Senator James Abourezk to defend the rights of Americans of Arab
descent, and to promote their rich heritage and culture. While stereotyping
and defamation have plagued most ethnic and minority groups in the United
States at one time or another, ADC has noted that events in the Middle East
have a direct and negative impact on acts of violence against Arab-Americans.
In general, American society has been tolerant and supportive of
Arab-Americans as an ethnic group. However, a small minority of hate-mongers
have taken advantage of crises in the Middle East to target Arab-Americans
for hate crimes and acts of violence. ADC has joined ethnic, religious,
peace and civil rights groups to speak out against racism and defamation and
to uphold the political, civil and constitutional rights of all people. Over
the last ten years, ADC has worked in coalition with these groups to oppose
manifestations of political violence and hate crimes directed against
Unfortunately, the 1990 report comes at a time when violence against the
Arab-American community is at an all time high. Throughout the crisis in the
Gulf, which began in August 1990, and since the United States and Iraq went
to war on January 16, 1991, the number of attacks against Arab-American
individuals and organizations has spiralled. Arab-Americans have once again
become a convenient scapegoat for those who seek to vent their fears and
frustrations about the war. This report is structured to give the reader an
overview of the climate that breeds anti-Arab hate crimes and to document
the dramatic increase in these attacks following the crisis in the Gulf.
Arab-Americans have long been the targets of stereotyping, defamation and
hate crimes. Although acts of racism and discrimination occur on a regular
basis, since its founding, ADC has noted a significant increase in hate
crimes and violence directed against Arab-Americans whenever the United
States or its interests are involved in a Middle Eastern crisis.
ADC first noted this correlation in 1985, following the TWA hijacking in
Lebanon. As a result of that incident, mosques and community centers across
the country were vandalized and bombed. In another tragic incident, ADC
Regional Director Alex Odeh was murdered in his Santa Ana, California office
at the height of the October 1985 Achille Lauro fiasco. When the U.S. bombed
Libya in 1986, Arab-American homes and businesses were targeted and Arab
students were attacked and beaten. And, following reports of the death of
U.S. hostage Colonel William Higgins in 1989, racist anti-Arab banners
declaring "Shi'te Hunting Season Opens Today" and "Let's F-16 Beirut" were
placed over freeways in New York City.
The occurence of hate crimes in a multi-ethnic society such as the U.S. is
symptomatic of a larger tendency to reject the unique contributions of
minority groups and cultures. European immigrants faced these problems in
the early part of the twentieth century. More recently, Asian and Hispanic
immigrants have been the visible targets, while other ethnic communities,
including African-Americans and Native Americans, continue to be victims of
racism and discrimination. When this racism is coupled with U.S. involvement
in conflicts overseas, the potential for violent attacks against the
minority community concerned multiplies. Japanese-Americans were targeted
and vilified during World War II to the point that they were stripped of
their constitutional rights and illegally interned in prison camps.
The growing centrality of the Middle East in world politics and the
increased political visibility of Arab-Americans have made our community
more vulnerable. The Arab world has long been perceived in the West in terms
of a set of negative stereotypes, which have been transferred to Americans
of Arab descent.
In 1990, Arab-Americans once again saw events in the Middle East result in
a violent backlash against their community. The crisis in the Arabian Gulf
which erupted in August 1990, produced a sharp increase in the level of
public hostility towards Arabs and Arab-Americans. Following the deployment
of U.S. troops to the region, anti-Arab violence and crime increased nearly
a hundred-fold: prior to August 8, ADC logged five incidents of anti-Arab
hate crimes; in the following months, ADC received more than 40 additional
reports. Unfortunately, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent U.S.
military build-up in the Arabian Gulf aroused some individuals to strike out
against Arabs and Arab-Americans in an effort to avenge the actions of the
Over the last several years, numerous organizations and individuals have
begun to recognize and openly condemn anti-Arab racism. Many voices have
spoken out against anti-Arab bigotry, and the National Council of Churches,
the United Methodist Church, the Unitarian-Universalist Association, the
Presbyterian Church and other religious bodies have publicly condemned such
attacks. Many of these groups have also implemented study programs on Arab
and Middle Eastern culture, religion and history, and have encouraged their
congregations to build solidarity with both Arab Christians and Arab Muslims.
Churches and other organizations spoke out in 1990. Scores of Christian,
Jewish, peace, human rights and ethnic organizations and leaders signed a
statement of concern about anti-Arab bigotry and violence circulated by ADC.
This appeal awakened an especially strong and widespread response, and
garnered the support of several groups who had not previously addressed the
issue. A number of organizations made a point of publicizing ADC's appeal
and mobilizing their networks to add their own response, issuing press
releases and statements condemning anti-Arab bigotry. The U.S. press gave an
unprecedented level of attention to the anti-Arab backlash to the Gulf
crisis, as evidenced by an editorial in the New York Times and a syndicated
column by Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights leader Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
During a gathering of several hundred Arab-American leaders and the press
on September 24, 1990, President Bush forcefully condemned anti-Arab hate
crimes and discrimination, and said:
"Today some Americans are the victims of appalling acts of
hatred. And this is a sad irony that while our brave soldiers
are fighting aggression overseas, a few hate-mongers here at
home are perpetrating their own brand of cowardly aggression.
Death threats, physical attacks, vandalism, religious violence
and discrimination against Arab-Americans must end. These hate
crimes have no place in a free society and we are not going to
stand for them."
In February 1990, Congress passed a bill requiring the Justice Department
to collect annual statistics on hate crimes, thus allowing legislators and
law enforcement agencies to assess the scope of the problem and plan
effective countermeasures. This legislation defines a hate crime as an
assault on a person or property which "manifests prejudice" regarding race,
religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. It is an important step forward
in recognizing and eliminating hate crimes. The Justice Department has set
up a special hotline for the public to use in reporting hate crimes. The
number is (800) 347-HATE.
Over the last five years, ADC has held meetings with Justice Department
and FBI officials to urge them to vigorously pursue hate crimes directed
against Arab-Americans. Unfortunately, however, we have also found that
these same law enforcement agencies occasionally engage in discriminatory
actions against Arab-Americans. In 1987, seven Palestinians and one Kenyan
(the "LA 8") were arrested in Los Angeles and publicly labelled a terrorist
threat. In fact, they were engaged in legitimate political activities
protected by the First Amendment. During court proceedings for the "LA 8", a
Justice Department contingency plan was revealed, which provided a blueprint
for the mass arrest of thousands of Middle Eastern residents of the U.S. The
plan also included provisions for their detention in camps in Louisiana and
Florida and their possible deportation.
In addition, a 1990 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office indicates
that the FBI has engaged in surveillance of Arab, Muslim and other ethnic
organizations which have been engaged only in legitimate political
activities protected by the First Amendment.
Even as this report goes to press, the FBI is questioning over 200 hundred
Arab-American community leaders regarding their political views and their
knowledge of possible terrorist threats in the U.S. ADC is disturbed by what
appear to be "fishing expeditions" into the personal and political lives of
Arab-Americans. ADC also objects to the FBI's assumption that
Arab-Americans, by virtue of their ethnicity, would have special knowledge
of or contacts with any terrorist activity. This policy serves to stigmatize
the community and gives the impression that Arab-Americans are a "suspect"
class, thereby providing those who wish the community harm justification for
their hostility and acts of violence.
In addition, Palestinian and Lebanese political activists and organizers
in the peace movement report that they are under surveillance by the FBI.
Such actions are viewed as an attempt to "chill" the legitimate political
activities of U.S. citizens and residents. It is a disturbing paradox that
the overzealous policies designed to prevent terrorist attacks are directed
in an indiscriminate manner against a community which is itself the victim
of hate crimes.
ADC has raised these issues in meetings with the FBI and elected
officials, seeking an end to such practices and requesting congressional
hearings to review these "investigations." Arab-Americans look to law
enforcement agencies to protect their lives, property and civil liberties.
They should not have to fear that these same agencies may infringe on their
right to free exercise of political speech and activity, as guaranteed in
the American Constitution.
Discussion of Report
This listing of hate crimes has been compiled from cases reported to ADC
which we believe fall under the Justice Department description of "hate
crimes," including physical assaults against individuals or groups,
vandalism and destruction of property and harassment, intimidation and
threats. This log is representative, but is by no means comprehensive, since
many cases do not come to our attention or are never reported at all due to
the unfortunate reality that many victims fear further repercussion. Most
incidents were reported directly by the victims, some from second parties
such as an ADC chapter contact and others from press reports.
This log does not include the innumerable reports received of
discrimination in employment, housing, education and airline travel. Nor
does it include the endless series of negative stereotypes of Arabs in the
media. These are long-standing problems which ADC deals with on a daily
basis. It should also be noted that since the Gulf crisis, ADC has received
an increase in such reports, including anti-Arab slurs by radio talk shows
and disc jockeys. These slurs help to create an atmosphere which encourages
and provides spurious "legitimization" for anti-Arab violence.
Also not included are commercial attempts to capitalize on anti-Arab
hostility. Recently this has included advertisements with negative images of
Arabs and the marketing of products such as T-shirts with rifle cross-hairs
superimposed on an Arab figure on a camel and the slogan "I'd fly 10,000
miles to smoke (military jargon meaning `to destroy') a camel."
HATE CRIMES CHRONOLOGY
January-March 1990 - Flint, MI: Arab-American organizations and leaders
continue to receive death threats, which have continued for years. (The
perpetrator was arrested later in the year, pleaded guilty and in November
was sentenced to 6 month incarceration, 3 years probation and a $2000 fine.)
3/29/90 - Quincy, MA: Islamic Center of New England was the target of an
arson attack. Damage amounted to a half million dollars. (Incident occurred
shortly after an American missionary from Massachusetts was killed in
5/18/90 - Washington, D.C.: ADC received call from a psychologically
disturbed person from California who delivered a threatening and disjointed
"message from the Jews to the Arabs." Several days later he sent a
7/90 - Dallas, TX: Arab-American received hate call after publishing a
letter to the editor. The caller used the epithet "Arab pig" and hung up.
The same person has called after previous letters were published in the
08/08/90 - Los Angeles, CA: ADC office received a threatening and highly
offensive message on the phone machine.
08/09/90 - Cincinnati, OH: Arab-American family restaurant received two
phone threats. Caller stated: "If they go to war, a bomb will be put in your
restaurant." After the war began in January 1991, there were additional
threats and another Arab-American store was fire bombed on two separate
08/14/90 - San Francisco, CA: ADC activist received a letter threatening
his life and his children's due to a newspaper interview he gave to a local
paper on the Iraq-Kuwait conflict.
08/14/90 - Santa Ana, CA: A prominent Arab-American walked a visitor to
his car about midnight and found a Star of David spray-painted on the car.
08/15/90 - Dearborn, Ml: Arab-American newspaper reporter received a phone
message from a male caller stating "I want to leave a message for Mr. --, I
will kill you if the Americans in Kuwait are hurt." The FBI was contacted
and is investigating the case.
08/15/90 - Gaithersburg, MD: Iranian-American family mistaken as Arabs
reported that they were attacked and beaten by members of a road crew. The
father received a fractured skull and is partially paralyzed. One of the
attackers was quoted as saying "I want to kill these foreigners to teach
them a lesson about complaining in our country."
08/22/90 - Albuquerque, NM: Two Arab-Americans who were interviewed by a
local newspaper received threatening notes and a rash of abusive and
threatening calls numbering nearly 100. Reports were made to the police and
the FBI. Reporter indicated that as a result many other Arab-Americans were
afraid to talk or give their names to the media.
08/22/90 - Columbus, OH: Arab-American received call on answering machine
with vile language cautioning him to watch over his shoulder as he was going
to be the next hostage. Copy of tape was given to law enforcement officials
08/22/90 Orange County, CA: Arab manager of gas station received a call
from a woman who called him, erroneously, an Iraqi and said she would burn
down his place.
08/22/90 - Chicago, IL: A young Palestinian was struck in a market and
told to go back to Iraq.
08/23/90 - Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that an
Arab-American family filed a lawsuit against their neighbors who had
harassed and threatened them because of their national origin. The incidents
included the throwing of stink bombs in their yard at 1:30 a.m., "turfing"
the family's lawn and a steady diet of threats and racial epithets. The
family was forced to sell their home and move.
08/23/90 - Herndon, VA: A bomb threat was received at an office building
housing several organizations affiliated with an Islamic charitable
foundation. The caller stated, "This is an Arab-owned building. You'd better
get your people out - we're going to blow it up."
08/24/90 - New York, NY: Gang of ten young men approached a male rider in
the New York subway on Second Avenue about 3:00 a.m. and asked in a
threatening fashion if he was an Arab. The victim was then attacked and
beaten, causing him to run off the train at the next stop. He was followed
by the gang. The conductor called the police after being informed by
witnesses on the train.
08/24/90 - Charlestown, MA: The Boston Globe reported that an
Arab-American was threatened and taunted by neighbors and told to move out
of his residence or "he will die." The landlord was also threatened if she
did not "kick that Arab out." An anonymous letter writer threatened to burn
down the building. The writer made reference to the tenant being an Arab and
the writer's son being in the U.S. Army "fighting the Saudis." (sic) The
Arab-American moved out in 24 hours and now floats from one friend's house
to another. The Boston Globe has also reported that other Arabs in Boston
and New Hampshire have experienced incidents of harassment and anti-Arab
08/28/90 - Los Angeles, CA: The ADC regional office received two calls
from different individuals who used profane language and told the staff
person to "go back home."
08/30/90 - Washington, D.C.: Bomb threat called into the National Office
of ADC by a man claiming, "There is a bomb in your building...37 minutes."
08/30/90 - Missouri: Arab-American who wrote an article on the Gulf crisis
for a local newspaper reported that he received a hostile phone call from a
woman who stated, "You belong to Iraq or Iran. I don't care where you go but
get out of this country. You don't belong here."
09/2/90 - Houston, TX: Arab-American talk show host received package which
contained a fake bomb of cigars in cases wired to a small clock. A note was
attached saying, "....have a good cigar and don't be late for the show." The
bomb squad evacuated the building and determined it to be a threatening hoax.
09/04/90 - Augusta, GA: The President of the local Islamic Society
reported that he received a call threatening his life if he did not stop his
09/06/90 - Kansas City, MO: Politically active Palestinian family reported
that two shots were fired at their car from a .22 caliber weapon. The family
had previously received repeated phone calls threatening the wife with
kidnapping. She was told to be careful when she opened her door. For three
nights a car with two men in it was parked across the street from their
home. The family had previously won a lawsuit imposing a $10,000 fine on
Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, which has been
described by the FBI as a "terrorist organization."
09/08/90 - Patterson, NJ: After receiving death threats, an Arab
businessman withdrew his offer to pay $500 to anyone who named their newborn
child "Saddam." The death threats included a copy of a news story about his
$500 offer with a red X across his picture and the word "DEAD" in bold red
09/10/90 - Indiana, PA: Arab-American who made TV comment about Gulf
crisis reported 6-7 harassing calls. Callers insulted Arabs and stated "We
will get you," and "Go back to your country." On the same day, a stone was
thrown through his window.
09/14/90 Toledo, OH: A Palestinian student reported that while he was
waiting at a bus station, he was approached by six men, who asked if he was
an Arab and where he was from. The group's manner was quite menacing and
they said that they intended to beat him up. He managed to reason with them,
then took refuge in the station security office.
09/26/90 Dallas, TX: Arab-American who has published op-ed articles in the
local press reported that he had received a death threat in mail. The note
read: "FUTURE HEADLINES OF THE STAR-TELEGRAM: `-- -- found in his burning
car this morning. Police suspect a bomb was planted under the hood of his
car by someone who finds his opinions invalid.' Or, `Police discover body of
a man and a woman in an apartment at -- Ave. The man, who had been nailed to
the floor, was identified as -- --.'"
10/02/90 - Houston, TX: ADC member reported that the owner of the "Baghdad
Carpet" store has received hostile phone calls and letters, including a bomb
threat. He was told to "change the name of your business." The owner is
10/03/90 - Houston, TX: ADC member reported that an Arab-American woman
recently received hate mail. She had been receiving "horrible" calls every
3-4 weeks since she was on the radio in May. Also: An Arab-American home was
littered with toilet paper and splattered with raw eggs. Also: The press
reported that a Saudi couple was beaten at Sharpestown Mall. They protested
that they were Saudis. An attacker stated, "We don't care. You're Arab."
10/18/90 - Gaithersburg, MD: Palestinian-American family reported
harassment and vandalism for the past two months, apparently from hostile
neighbors. Car tires were slashed and eggs were thrown at the house. Family
property on the porch was broken. They received numerous phone calls where
the caller just hung up. One caller asked for the husband by name, claimed
to be with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, stated that "You have
48 hours to leave the U.S. because you are from Iraq," and hung up. A
neighborhood woman who spoke to her in a friendly way at a bus stop had her
car windows smashed. The wife states that "I feel like a stranger in my own
home. We have been in the U.S. since 1972 and never experienced anything
like this. I can't believe that this is happening to me."
10/19/90 - Madison, WI: Arab-American activist reported three bomb threats
attempting to disrupt his talk at the University of Wisconsin criticizing
U.S. intervention in the Gulf.
10/22/90 - San Diego, CA: American-born grocery store owner of Iraqi
descent reported that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local
135, has circulated a flier associating him with Saddam Hussein in an
attempt to mobilize anti-Saddam/Iraq sentiment against him. The owner is
accused of "holding his employees hostage." The flier states that
negotiating with the owner is "like negotiating with Saddam Hussein" and
features a photo of Saddam. The union is attempting to organize workers at
the grocery. The San Diego press also reported that a "rowdy" stomped on a
Saudi Arabian flag hanging in one of the owner's stores.
11/19/90 - Chicago, IL: Bogus letter threatening Arab students at
University of Illinois at Chicago and purportedly signed by the university
president. Letter was sent to human rights organization supporting
Palestinian rights after it held a campus event. Letter makes reference to
"Jewish storm troopers" and the JDL.
11/28/90 - Houston, TX: ADC member reported that an Arab-American
association and a restaurant have received hostile phone calls recently. In
another incident a rabbi and two other men entered an Arab-American business
with the apparent intention of beating him up. The store owner drew a gun to
defend himself and frightened them away.
12/05/90 - New York, NY: The press reported threats against supporters of
Palestinian rights. An unsigned letter mentioning the "Kach Underground
Movement" threatened retaliations for the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane,
founder of the Jewish Defense League the right-wing Israeli extremist Kach
Party. The threats targeted both Arab-Americans and Jewish leaders who have
been critical of Israeli policies.
12/10/90 - Falls Church, VA: Arab-American reported harassing calls and
letters. His last name is Hussein (a very common Arabic name) and he is
identified with Saddam Hussein (no relation). He has received "many, many
calls, day and night." Calls included threats on his life and threats to
blow up his house.
12/90 - Portland, OR: Just before Christmas, two Kuwaitis were beaten up
at a shopping mall. Incident witnessed by several Arab-Americans. Motive was
apparently anger that Kuwaitis were out shopping, while American troops were
in the desert protecting them.
12/30/90 - Scranton, PA: Arab-American couple received harassing and
"very, very scary" phone message at 11:30 p.m. The call was a tape recorded
message featuring two voices - one angry and accusing the other of hatred of
Jews, the other pleading and denying such sentiments. The couple's phone
number is unlisted, but they recently attended a public meeting on the Gulf
crisis and were seen there by recognized members of a Zionist organization.
1/1/91 - small town, Michigan: Vandalism: During the night of January 1,
1991, a person threw a rock through the window of a house owned by an
1/4/91 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Unauthorized entry: Two editors of a campus
newspaper at the University of Wisconsin were caught at 1:00 a.m. by campus
security officers in the offices of an Arab-American organization. Records
in the office were later found to be in disarray.
1/5/91 - Richmond, Virginia: Threatening telephone call: An Arab-American
activist received a call the day after he took part in a peace rally. The
caller threatened, "Stop supporting Saddam or we will blow your house up."
1/10/91 - San Francisco area, California: Assault and battery: The San
Francisco Chronicle reported that a Kuwaiti was beaten while delivering a
pizza on Haight Street.
1/11/91 - San Diego, California: Attempted bombing: The American Muslim
Council reported that an incendiary device was planted in the building
housing the Islamic Society of San Diego, short-circuiting power but not
igniting. Nobody was injured.
1/11/91 - Portland, Oregon: Harassing telephone calls: An Arab-American
family received obscene and harassing telephone calls. The caller demanded
that victims, "Go back to Arab land." The caller also telephoned then hung
up when the phone was answered.
1/11/91 - Cleveland, Ohio: Threatening telephone call: An Arab-American
activist received a telephone call containing this threat: "This is John
from the Aryan People. If any attacks are made on this country, you people
are all going to pay. Do you understand?"
1/11/91 - Baltimore, Maryland: Assault: Four or five drunken men verbally
assaulted a man calling him a "Filthy Arab! Arab pig!" and shouted
obscenities. The man was a Polynesian Jew.
1/12/91 - Fremont, California: Harassing statements: The San Jose Mercury
News reported that a man in a grocery store ordered a American originally
from India who was wearing a traditional Sikh headdress to, "Go back home,
you damned Iraqi!"
1/12/91 (approximately) Dearborn, Michigan: Bomb threat: The Detroit Free
Press reported that a bomb threat was telephoned to Fordson High School,
where approximately 50% of the students are of Arab descent. The Fordson
basketball team reports ethnic hostility at games: "Go back to Saudi Arabia.
You are not wanted here!"
1/14/91 - New York, New York: Threatening telephone call: A caller gave
the name and address of the Arab-American who received the call, and then
threatened, "You will die within 48 hours. I am very sorry --, but you are a
1/14/91 and preceding days - small town in Pennsylvania: Harassment in
school: Iraqi-American children are harassed often in school by faculty and
students. The harassment includes mention of internment camps and statements
that the Americans should kill all of the Iraqis.
1/16/91 - Atlanta, Georgia: Harassing telephone call: An Arab-American
family received a telephone call in which the caller said, "Hello. You are a
mother-! Get out of the country." The next day, they received two additional
calls with the simple message: "Get out."
1/16/91 - Chicago, Illinois: Employment Harassment: While the United
States began offensive operations against Iraq, the supervisor of an
Arab-American security guard at a food manufacturing company called and
informed him that the company wanted him fired from his position, "because
he might do something." When he reported to work the next day, the
Arab-American security guard was ordered to leave the premises because he
1/16/91 - Los Angeles, California: Harassment: A disc jockey discussing
the FBI questioning of Arab-American business and community leaders advised
listeners to report to the authorities if they saw an Arab-American doing
1/17/91 - Cincinnati, Ohio: Bombing: An incendiary device was used to bomb
a grocery store owned and managed by Arab-Americans. This was the second
blast at the store in a week. The local FBI does not believe that the
bombing is related to anti-Arab backlash, but has declined to explain the
reasons for its belief. A local newspaper estimated damages at $15,000.
1/17/91 - Detroit, Michigan: Shooting threat: A person called the office
of an Arab-American organization and threatened that he would be coming to
the office with a high-powered rifle.
1/17/91 - Tampa Bay, Florida: Threatening letter: A threatening letter
with the following message was attached to the front door of four stores
owned by Arab-Americans: "WARNING. Dear owner: for your own safty [sic] you
shoud [sic] close your store for 2 or 3 days before something bad might
happens [sic] and you will not like it. Take this as a warrning [sic]."
Though requested to do so, both the Tampa Bay police and the FBI refused to
record the incident.
1/17/91 - Providence, Rhode Island: Harassing letter: A harassing letter
was sent to an Arab-American: "You are nothing but a traitor to your
country. Go back to Syria where you belong before you get hurt!"
1/17/91 - Syracuse, New York: Threatening telephone call: A woman called
an elderly Arab-American woman and warned, "You are going to get it," and
concluded the call with an ominous laugh. The caller is believed to have
made harassing telephone calls to other Arab-Americans.
1/17/91 - Fort Worth, Texas: Vandalism: The American Muslim Council
reported that the windows of the Islamic Society were smashed.
1/17/91 - Fort Worth, Texas: Threatening telephone calls: The American
Muslim Council reported that a restaurant owner received threatening
1/17/91 - Northbrook, Illinois: Bomb scare: The American Muslim Council
reported that prayers for peace were interrupted by a telephone bomb threat.
The community's Imam has moved out of his apartment for safety.
1/17/91 - Providence, Rhode Island: Threatening letter: An Arab-American
activist received a threatening letter: "You are nothing but a traitor to
your country. Go back to [your country of origin] before you get hurt."
1/17/91 - St. Petersburg, Florida: Threatening telephone calls: An
Arab-American grocery store received calls in which the caller threatened to
burn the store down. Rumors of a boycott of the store abound.
1/17/91 - Washington, D.C.: Threatening telephone calls: An Arab-American
organization received six threatening and harassing telephone calls.
1/17/91 (approximately) - San Jose, California: Bomb scare: The San Jose
Mercury News reported that a person issued a bomb threat against the Islamic
Education and Information Center of San Jose and shouted racial epitaphs at
children wearing traditional Arabic garb, prompting the center to cancel
1/17/91 Detroit, Michigan: Shooting: The mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young,
stated that a Chaldean (Iraqi Christian) party store owner reported that two
individuals in combat fatigues opened fire on him as he approached his
1/17/91 (approximately) San Jose, California: Threatening telephone calls:
The San Jose Mercury News reported that a caller left hate messages on the
answering machine of the Silicon Valley Congress of Arab Americans: "If you
. . . are going to live here, you ought to keep your mouths shut." "You
don't belong here. Don't call yourselves Arab AMERICANS."
1/18/91 - Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harassment: A person detonated firecrackers in
a garbage can and burned holes in a rug on the porch of an Arab-American
1/18/91 - Tulsa, Oklahoma: Vandalism: The American Muslim Council reported
that evening prayers were interrupted by rocks thrown through windows.
1/18/91 - Tulsa, Oklahoma: Shooting: The American Muslim Council reported
that shots were fired at the home of a Muslim businessman.
1/18/91 - Tulsa, Oklahoma: Vandalism: The American Muslim Council reported
that a Muslim school was vandalized and money was stolen. An American flag
was left behind at the school.
1/18/91 - Detroit, Michigan: Threats and violence: The mayor of Detroit,
Coleman Young, stated that since the beginning of the war, the Detroit
Police Department has recorded dozens of reports of threatened bombings or
other violence aimed at businesses whose owners are of Middle East descent.
He said that there have been numerous bomb threats and other threats related
to the war.
1/18/91 - Wooster, Massachusetts: Threatening telephone call: An
Arab-American received a telephone call: "Go Israel. Death to Palestinians."
1/18/91 (approximately) - Massachusetts: Employment harassment: FBI agents
interrogated an Arab-American after they received an anonymous tip that he
would commit a heinous act of terrorism at the utility which employed him.
The agents satisfied themselves that the tip was false, but the
Arab-American's job is in jeopardy and the Arab-American is taunted daily at
work about his ethnicity.
1/18/91 - Atlanta, Georgia: Harassing telephone call: An Arab-American
family received three harassing telephone calls between 2:30 a.m. and 3:00
a.m. The caller uttered obscenities and said,"Are you happy with what you
have done to Israel? Why don't you go back and be with your Saddam Hussein?"
1/19/91 - Washington, D.C.: Harassment: At least two buckets of white wash
were dumped from the roof of a building on a group of Arab-Americans who,
with 25,000 other Americans, were marching to protest against the war in the
1/20/91 - Washington, D.C.: Police harassment: A permanent resident from
Egypt was stopped by a police officer for stopping his car in a no-standing
area. The police officer, upon discovering a suspended driver's license,
immediately hand-cuffed the man and said, "You are under arrest. You are my
P.O.W." He ridiculed the Egyptian to passers by: "Does this guy look like an
Iraqi or an Egyptian? Do you believe he is not a terrorist?"
1/20/91 - New Haven, Connecticut: Harassment: A group of Arab-Americans
discussed activities of their Arab-American organization in a restaurant. As
each member of the group left the restaurant, he or she was photographed
from three different angles simultaneously by three persons who had
patronized the restaurant.
1/21/91 - Blissfield, Michigan: Arson: A restaurant owned by an
Arab-American was set ablaze in the middle of the night causing
$250,000-$500,000 damage. The fire department indicated that the fire was
caused by arson. A few days before the blaze, vandals had spray-painted on
the side of the restaurant: "U.S.A. No. 1!"
1/21/91 - near Dearborn, Michigan: Assault and battery: Two Arab-American
gas station attendants were attacked at their gas station by four men who
heard them conversing in Arabic. One of the Arab-Americans received injuries
requiring eight stitches as a result of the attack. The attackers uttered,
"You dumb Iraqis!" as they prepared to attack.
1/21/91 - Washington D.C. area Employment harassment: A person with a
grudge made a false report to the FBI that an Arab- American would commit an
act of terrorism. The Arab-American now fears that he will lose his job
because he has work requires a security clearance.
1/21/91 - Lakeland, Florida: Bombing: The Washington Post reported that a
pipe bomb exploded at the garage door of a family believed to be Iraqi. The
family, actually from India, had received a threatening telephone call
one-half hour before the blast. There were no injuries or property damage.
1/23/91 - Washington, D.C.: Harassing telephone call: An Arab-American
charity received a telephone call in which the caller stated, "This is for
the Palestinians," then shouted obscenities.
1/23/91 - Los Angeles, California: Arson: A delicatessen owned by an
Arab-American was set ablaze. The police suspect arson. Graffiti scrawled on
the wall of the deli read: "You *!!* Arab, go home!"
(undated) - Indianapolis, Indiana: Bomb scare: The American Muslim Council
reported on January 24 that the Islamic Society of North America had
received a bomb threat.
1/24/91 - San Francisco, California: Vandalism: The San Jose Mercury News
reported that the front windows of four Arab- American-owned food stores
were smashed. The vandals hurled batteries and a fire extinguisher through
the plate glass.
1/24/91 - Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Threatening letter: The day after local
television stations reported several instances of threats against
Arab-Americans, an Arab-American received a letter at work containing a
1/25/91 - small town in Tennessee: Employment harassment: An Arab-American
reports that at work, posters, including one with the phrase "I'd fly 10,000
miles to smoke a camel" proliferate. One employee suggested putting the
Arab-American's picture over the picture of Saddam Hussein in one
anti-Saddam Hussein poster. When he complained of harassment to his
supervisor, the Arab-American was shown the door.
1/25/91 (approximately) small town in Texas: Threatening telephone calls:
Arab-American family received three telephone calls beginning at 2:00 a.m.
in which the caller threatened to shoot them to death.
1/26/91 - Washington, D.C.: Threatening telephone call: A caller
threatened an Arab-American, "I'm going to send you to Louisiana," then hung
up. The reference is to an INS detention camp maintained in Oakdale,
1/27/91 - North Bergen, New Jersey: Assault: A woman wearing a Muslim
headdress was attacked by three other women in a department store.
1/27/91 - Louisville, Kentucky: Threatening telephone call: An
Arab-American received a telephone call threatening, ~"You will be gone
within two weeks!" The next day, he received an obscene call.
1/27/91 - Queens, New York: Assault and battery: New York City police
reported that a Pakistani man was assaulted and repeatedly beaten by four
men who called him an "Arab terrorist." He was not seriously injured.
1/28/91 - Washington, D.C.: Assault and robbery: At the campus of George
Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C., five students attacked
an Arab-American student. They pushed him, shouted, "! you, Arab. You people
are the cause of all problems," and ran off with his book bag.
1/29/91 (approximately) - Detroit, Michigan: Arson: A grocery and wine
store owned by an Arab-American was set ablaze and looted. The owner of the
store was known to have extended credit to his neighbors.
1/30/91 - San Diego, California: Bomb scare: A bomb scare was called in to
disrupt a lecture to be given by Dr. Edward Said at the University of
California at San Diego.
2/2/91 - small town in Texas: Harassment: An Arab-American couple are
repeatedly harassed in public places by a person who loudly declares that
the are terrorists and Hitler who "should go back to Saddam." The harasser
threatens to report them to the FBI.
2/2/91 (approximately) Dearborn, Michigan: Vandalism: Anti-Arab slogans
were scrawled on the walls of a business owned by an Arab-American.
A STATEMENT OF CONCERN
We view with concern reports that the crisis in the Persian Gulf is
creating a backlash against Arab-Americans. Threats have been made against
Arab-American organizations and individuals who have spoken publicly about
the issue. Inflammatory and bigoted remarks on talk shows and call-in radio
programs are helping to create a climate of opinion conducive to anti-Arab
racism and violence.
Previous Middle East crises, especially those involving U.S. military
action or threats to American lives, resulted in a surge in public hostility
directed against Arabs and Muslims -- death threats, beatings, vandalism
against homes, businesses and mosques, even bombings of mosques and
community centers. Such incidents led several national churches to respond
with statements and resolutions expressing their concern.
We appeal to our fellow citizens to not let anger at the actions of the
Iraqi government be transformed into a generalized hostility against Arabs
and Arab-Americans - or even against all Iraqis or Iraqi Americans, who are
not responsible for the actions of the Iraqi government which initiated the
hostilities. In fact, Arab-Americans' relatives and friends in the Middle
East are especially endangered by the conflict.
We appeal to our elected officials and other opinion makers to refrain
from appeals to bigoted or racist attitudes and stereotypes. Demagogic
rhetoric could only worsen the situation for both Arabs and Americans.
Furthermore, we urge public officials and law enforcement agencies to be
scrupulous in honoring the civil liberties of both Arab-Americans and Arab
nationals visiting the U.S.
American Civil Liberties Union, Ira Glasser
American Friends Service Committee
American-Israeli Civil Liberties Coalition
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Evangelicals for Social Action
Irish National Caucus
Japanese American Citizens League
Lutheran Human Relations Association of America
National Assembly of Religious Women
National Conference of Black Lawyers
National Council of Churches
National Council of La Raza
Reformed Church in America
Young Women's Christian Association of the USA
Robert Z. Alpern, Unitarian-Universalist Association*
James E. Andrews, Presbyterian Church (USA)*
Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman, Leo Baeck Temple*, Los Angeles
William Sloane Coffin
Henry Der, Chinese for Affirmative Action*
Deborah Evanson, National Lawyers Guild*
Rabbi Marc A. Gruber, Westbury NY.
Bishop Thomas G. Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit*
Rabbi Burt Jacobson, Kehilla Community Synagogue*, Oakland
William Johnston, Episcopal Church People for a Free Southern Africa*
Coretta Scott King
Myron B. Kuropas, Ukrainian-American Justice Committee*
John A. Lapp, Mennonite Central Committee*
Benjamin Spock Sr.
Mary Luke Tobin, S.L., Sisters of Loretto*
Joe Volk, Friends Committee on National Legislation*
Bishop C. Dale White, United Methodist Church*
Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, KAM Isaiah Israel*, Chicago
Sr. Patricia Wolf, Sisters of Mercy of the Union*
* Organizations listed for purposes of identification only
Source: Peacenet Via New York Transfer News 718-448-2358, 718-448-2683
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