Advice to Educators from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Like millions of their fellow citizens, Arab Americans and Muslims stood around the TV, watching in horror and disbelief as one attack after another took place against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Unlike other Americans, however, many quickly found themselves the object of suspicion and hostility.
Arab American and Muslim organizations issued immediate condemnations of the attacks, but just as in the Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing, and other moments of crisis, the Arab and Muslim communities are being targeted by a wave of hostility and harassment. Two Arab-American groceries in the Philadelphia area were looted. A store owner in Westchester, New York, was assaulted with pepper spray. Two young Muslim women were beaten in Illinois. Arab American organizations are receiving hate mail and hate calls.
Similarly, during the Gulf war, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, and other moments of crisis, Arab Americans and Muslims experienced waves of hate crimes, physical assaults, bombings, death threats, and harassment.
At the same time, many organizations and institutions statements of support and calls to avoid anti-Arab harassment. In Detroit and Dearborn, the cities with the largest Arab-American populations, Arab-American and Muslim leaders condemned yesterday‘s attacks and the mayors of the two cities appealed to the public to avoid ethic scapegoating.
We are sure to discover that Arab-Americans and Muslims working in the World Trade Center were among the victims. In TV news reports, we saw women in traditional Muslim dress among the dust-covered survivors fleeing the devastation. Arab students in California report that family members and friends in New York are among the missing.