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ADC Statement on Austin Bombings Targeting Communities of Color

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | March 20, 2018 | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is outraged over the recent hate-motivated violence targeting African Americans and Latinx Americans in Austin, Texas. ADC calls on all leaders and elected officials to denounce these crimes, and the individuals and groups that target communities of color out of hate for their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.

The Austin Bombing Attacks have rocked the civil rights community because violence is being used as a tool to silence the speech and activism of communities of color.  Two of the families targeted by the bombings are prominent African American families with a long history of supporting the city’s African American civic and religious organizations. ADC demands that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigate the bombings as domestic terrorism and hate crimes. Just as important, federal and state governments must immediately take action to combat and stem growing acts of violence perpetrated by white supremacists and other hate groups. The information available suggests that the attacks were coordinated and premeditated to harm and kill African Americans and Latinx Americans. The racial identity of the victims appeared to be known by the perpetrator(s) as the first three bombs were sent directly to the homes of the victims.

As Arab Americans, we know firsthand the consequences of hatred.  Hate crimes are on the rise across the U.S., with the number of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim assaults skyrocketing over the past few years. ADC itself has been threatened and targeted with bomb attacks by domestic hate groups. In 1985, ADC’s Regional Director, and a dedicated human rights activist, Alex Odeh was murdered in Santa Ana, California by a pipe bomb that exploded at the front door of the ADC West Coast office as he attempted to enter it. Despite claims soon after the crime from the FBI that it had credible leads in the attack, to date no one has been charged for Odeh’s murder. Main suspects in the case were, and remain to be, members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a group widely credited with bombings and attempted bombings targeting communities of color around Los Angeles and New York City between the 1980s and early 2000s.

Unfortunately, the Austin Attacks and the Odeh case are not unique and instead show a consistent pattern that white supremacist and hate groups can commit brazen hate crimes with impunity. ADC will always stand against such crimes and demand that we all take actions to stomp out hate and combat racism, discrimination and xenophobia in whatever form they take. ADC will also continue to put pressure on our nation’s leaders and security personnel to combat, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes for what they are, acts of the utmost moral depravity.

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