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ADC Statement & Community Advisory Regarding Chapel Hill Shooting

 

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

ADC Statement & Community Advisory Regarding Chapel Hill Shooting

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | February 11, 2015 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) firmly believes the senseless murder of the three Arab and Muslim American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a result of hate rhetoric and the spread of anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia. 

ADC has observed a drastic increase of anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia within the last few years. This increase in rhetoric and violence is directly linked to the negative media coverage and hateful propaganda launched against the Arab and Muslim communities. For example, the media’s biased coverage following attacks on the Charlie Hedbo offices in France; the release of the film “American Sniper;” and the false statements by opportunistic politicians such as the Governor of Louisiana Piyush (Bobby) Jindal on ‘no go zones for non-Muslims,’ all contributed to the growing narrative against the Arab and Muslim American communities. 

ADC President Samer Khalaf stated, “The use and enforcement of U.S. laws to target Arab and Muslim Americans emboldens the violence we witnessed in the Chapel Hill executions. Targeted surveillance and racial and religious profiling against our community by the government perpetuates anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia in our society. Government laws and policies endorse attitudes that all Arabs and Muslims are potential threats, enemies, and disposable.”

It is the duty of federal, state, and local law enforcement to protect these vulnerable communities. The obligation of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies goes beyond just an investigation; the agencies must demonstrate to the community that these hate crimes will not be overlooked. The DOJ must act, and make the killings of the Arab Muslim students a priority, as requested by ADC earlier today. 

It is imperative that law enforcement, and the current administration, understand that violent extremism is not confined to one particular religion, race or ethnic group. As demonstrated in the execution of these three students, violent extremism takes many forms. The attempt by the administration to paint violent extremism as only an “Arab” or “Muslim” issue is what leads to the vilification of the communities.  Initiatives such as the upcoming  Countering Violent Extremism Summit hosted by the White House, singles out the Arab and Muslim communities as “suspects,” which leads to hate rhetoric and targeting of the community. 

ADC reminds community members to exercise caution and vigilance. Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American communities must take their safety seriously when they receive threats of violence to themselves or their relatives. 

  • If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: Call the police (dial 911 in most communities), and/or click here to contact your local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. You can also report a hate crime to the FBI online using this form.

  • Ensure that any place of worship you attend is prepared with an emergency plan that can be implemented should the need arise. Also, be familiar with all the exits to your place of worship, in case the building is attacked.

  • For those attending Church services, and for Muslims attending daily prayers, contact your local law enforcement officials and ask for protection if you feel threatened. 

  • It is advisable to find out whether your place of worship has an open line of communication with law enforcement. If there is no line of communication, it is advised that one be established. 

  • If you have a child who is in school, and you are concerned about bullying, take a moment to speak to your child about any issues he or she may face. Also, share any concerns you have about bullying with the school administration. 

  • Ensure that your children are aware that they can report any incidents of bullying or harassment to a school official or other adult. Work with your children’s school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy, if a satisfactory one is not already in place. 

  • If you or your child is a victim of online bullying please address the matter by following the steps outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which can be found here

  • Ensure that your children are aware that they can report any incidents of bullying or harassment to a school official or other adult. Work with your children’s school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy, if a satisfactory one is not already in place. 

  • If you feel you have been a victim of a hate crime, of if any individual or place of worship needs any assistance with any of the above, including dealing with law enforcement, please contact the ADC Pro Bono Legal Department at 202-244-2990 or legal@adc.org.



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