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27 Sep, 2001

Stay Away, Arab-American Leader Tells Terrorists

1. STAY AWAY, ARAB-AMERICAN LEADER TELLS TERRORISTS: Dr. James Zogby, president, Arab American Institute, minces no words in saying what he thinks about terrorists.

2. EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT SURPRISE MUSLIMS: The bigots in the US don’t know the difference between terrorists and normal people, but many others do. And they are showing it.

3. ARAB AMERICANS, MUSLIMS MEET WITH PRESIDENT BUSH: The President is thanked for his support.

4. LEGALITY OF U.S. MILITARY FORCE?: The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights questions whether the U.S. has the right to use military force.

5. AMERICANS INSTRUCTED ON SAFETY: A US Embassy in Bangkok circular on how Americans can steer clear of trouble.

6. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!: Everyone living in or visiting the US has certain rights. In these times of heightened surveillance, information is being circulated on the rights of US residents and visitors on how to deal with law enforcement agents.

7. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Another outpouring of scintillating opinions on previous dispatches of Newswire.



By James Zogby, iviews.com, September 26, 2001 www.iviews.com/scripts/articles/stories/

The writer is president and founder of the Arab American Institute, a Washington based advocacy group.

I am angry, very angry. The terrorists who struck on September 11 violated the openness and freedom of my country. They killed thousands of my fellow citizens and they have done incalculable damage to the Arab American and Muslim American communities.

Each day, the press provides new reports detailing the activities of these evil doers leading up to September 11. As I read these accounts, I have been struck by how sinister it was that these men armed with such hideous intent, were able to take advantage of the opportunities provided by America and the almost naive good will of so many Americans. They found homes in which to live, schools in which to train and they moved about without question.

All the while, they planned their deadly mission.

I found it almost incomprehensible that in the years they prepared to kill thousands, they were not moved to question their intended evil by the good that they saw around them everyday.

They took advantage of Americans to kill Americans and for that I am angry.

I am angry, as well, because their terrorism has brought so much sorrow and so much loss to so many. Not only did they kill thousands, but their act has created a national trauma.

Americans have lived through many traumatic events; the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the explosion of the Challenger, and Oklahoma City are just examples. As a nation, we have also been gripped by horrific tragedies that have befallen others as well; the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla, the killing of Muhamad Al-Durra, terrorist attacks in Israel and the rape of Bosnia.

In each of these instances, Americans sat riveted to their televisions, transfixed by grotesque images of death playing out before our eyes.

There has been something quite different about this tragedy. This time Americans did not simply suffer for the victims, we suffered with the victims. Possibly because the weapons were ordinary civilian aircraft and the death scene was a place of work, and because the casualties were so many. Those of us who watched were affected to our core.

Each of us said, “it could have been any one of us.” And in a way it was. The attacks did not discriminate between race, ethnicity or religion.

And as we watched in the days that followed and listened to the stories of those who survived, each of us were able to relate to the horror, the loss and the fear. As a nation, we have mourned and been filled with great sadness.

And for that, too, I am angry.

Because almost every American has reacted to this momentous and traumatic event, in his or her own unique way, the reactions have been varied.

There have been stories of unparalleled bravery. There are also stories of uncommon goodness. But others have reacted out of fear, ignorance and prejudice. And because of that, I am also angry.

For decades pro-Israel propagandists sought to paint Arabs with the broad stroke of terror. As Arab Americans we have been affected. We suffered from negative stereotypes, discrimination and exclusion. Many in my community felt compelled to hide their identity and their heritage.

But we fought back. We built institutions, we defended ourselves. We organized and established Arab Americans as a constituency that defeated prejudice and took its place in the political mainstream.

I recall noting how when the FBI issued its 15th annual report on domestic terrorism, that not one single act of terror had been committed by an Arab on American soil. In fact, I often noted that Arab Americans had been victims of domestic terrorism, but never its perpetrators. Then came the first World Trade Center bombing and our enemies had a weapon to use against us. And Arabs had given it to them.

It was because of the years of propaganda and prejudice, that after the World Trade Center bombing, Arab Americans suffered a backlash and rush to judgment after Oklahoma City. And now September 11 has happened and with it another backlash.

While most Americans have turned to Arab Americans and been extremely supportive, there are bigots who have attacked Arab Americans, American Muslims and even Sikhs who have been assaulted and killed because of their attire. Arab Americans and Muslim American school children are afraid to go to school, taxi drivers and storeowners are afraid to work. In a few instances, Arab Americans have been refused the right to fly because their fellow passengers are afraid to be on a plane with them.

The President has spoken out against this bigotry, as have almost all other public officials. Daily there are events with the President, Congressmen and agencies of government to demonstrate solidarity with our communities and warnings against a backlash. And the Department of Justice has been active in organizing a national outreach program to combat hate crimes against Arab Americans and American Muslims.

Serious problems remain, but the tide is turning, and our efforts are paying off. Emails to our office are now twenty to one supportive of our community.

Churches and civic groups are joining with Arab Americans and American Muslims and schools are seeking our help to provide educational materials about Arab Americans and Islam.

We will continue to fight bigots and we will win. But it was all so unnecessary. This pain and suffering did not have to be. And this fear did not have to be, if the evil doers had not committed these acts of terror on September 11. And for that I am angry.

There are reports that there may be more terrorists planning still more attacks. This has created more fear and more suspicion, putting more Arab Americans and American Muslims at risk. And so I say to the terrorists, get out! And to those who may plan to come in the future, stay away — we do not want you! You have done too much evil already. You have killed too many. You have created too much sadness, fear and hatred. And you have done our community immeasurable harm.



By Solomon Moore, Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2001

It was a white-hot e-mail, still echoing with thunderous keystrokes: “Go back to your beautiful land of sand and pig dirt, and take your HATE with you!” Culver City-based IslamiCity.com, a popular Islamic Web site, was an easy target after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But Mohammed Abdul Aleem, the site’s chief executive, thought the insults had more to do with ignorance than anger, so he replied with a short compilation of Islamic scripture.

The next day, the writer’s anger had turned to shame: “I want to apologize for the hate mail I sent you the other day. I was upset by all the things that happened. My brother, who works in the armed forces, lost several of his friends at the Pentagon. I appreciate your calm and informative response and as a result have since then come to my senses.”

Reports of ethnic profiling and sporadic attacks on perceived Middle Easterners persist, but Muslims in Southern California say they have been astounded by more numerous reports of restraint and kindness. They see it in the woman who brings roses to her Persian American colleague. They hear it in the reassurance of the auto mechanic who tells his Pakistani customer, “It’s OK” to be named Mohammed.

The explosive rage that initially seized many Americans seems to have become less focused on Islam and the Middle East in general and more focused on Osama bin Laden and terrorists in particular.

Many Americans also are investigating, some for the first time, one of the world’s great faiths and oldest civilizations. Bookstores are selling out of copies of the Koran. University classes and teach-ins on the Middle East and Islam are filled to capacity. Middle East scholars are being invited on television news shows repeatedly and being spotted on the street like celebrities. And many everyday Middle Easterners–Muslim or not–are fielding a daily barrage of questions about Islam from neighbors, co-workers and strangers.

“They don’t ask in a rude way,” said Mitra Mikaili, a Persian American who is a member of the Baha’i faith, a persecuted minority in Iran. “They say, ‘You are from that part of the world. What is your insight about this?’ They ask about the Muslim religion and the way they do things.” Other local Middle Easterners are reporting more visceral expressions of support. On a call-in show on Radio Iran, KIRN-AM (670), one caller said her Wilshire Boulevard doorman had even gotten into the act.

“Since the attack, he hugs me every time I come home,” she said.

A Westwood psychologist, Nehzat Farnoody, said one of her colleagues gave her flowers and said, “Nothing has changed.” Such displays of compassion come as a shock to many Muslims and Middle Easterners, who braced for a widespread backlash after Sept. 11 and are still keeping an eye out for scattered incidents of discrimination.

Some Muslims in Southern California say that public shows of support from political leaders, such as President Bush reading peaceful passages from the Koran, set the tone for the rest of the country.

“We are overwhelmed,” said Mahmoud Abdel-Baset, religious director of the Islamic Center of Southern California. Since the attacks, the Los Angeles-based center has hosted a steady stream of dignitaries, including Gov. Gray Davis, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn.

There also was the quiet Christian man with anger in his heart for Islam.

Abdel-Baset was locking up the center’s mosque when the man came in and wandered around for a moment.

“He said he had lost a friend in the World Trade Center attacks,” Abdel-Baset said. “He told me, ‘I want to come face to face with a real Muslim person. I want to overcome my anger toward Muslims and separate it from the people who committed this.’ It was the first time he had been in a mosque, but I didn’t lecture him on anything, nor did he ask questions. He just wanted to see a real-life Muslim and talk to him. He cried on my shoulder. I cried too.”

Sarah Eltantawi, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Southern California, said her organization has been deluged with requests for speakers and literature. “I am a cynical person,” she said. “But I am heartened by the earnestness and sincerity with which people are trying to learn about Islam.” Eltantawi said the supportive response toward Muslims is especially surprising because of the treatment she received as an Egyptian American Muslim during the Persian Gulf War a decade ago.

“People had these inflammatory T-shirts (against) Iraq,” she said. “People were calling me a Jew-hater. It was terrible. It’s different now. I think people are desperate for an explanation of what happened, and getting to know Islam is part of that explanation.”

Katherine Koberg, the religion editor for online bookstore Amazon.com, said copies of the Koran are selling at unprecedented levels, with three editions on the religion bestseller list at one point. Doug Dutton, owner of Dutton’s Brentwood Bookstore, said he is sold out of most copies of Islam’s most holy book. “Having seen other situations from the Gulf War to Iran contra, I’ve seen books on current events and history go like this before,” Dutton said. “This is different because these are people who are very interested in looking beyond the headlines and at the actual texts of 1,500 years ago.”

Richard Hrair Dekmejian, a USC professor on Middle Eastern politics, said this thirst for knowledge about Islam is a result of the powerful impact of the Sept. 11 attacks and the general lack of religious knowledge in America. “We don’t offer our citizens a comprehensive view of the world,” he said. “Now, all of a sudden everybody wants to know. I get stopped all the time because I talk about this on TV. They stop and ask, ‘Is Islam violent? Why are they doing this?’ ”



Washington, DC, Sept 26 – A group of Arab-Americans and American Muslim leaders, including Dr. Ziad Asali, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) met today at the White House with President George W. Bush.

The delegation issued the following statement: We, Arab American and American Muslim leaders who have just completed a meeting with President Bush, wish to thank the President and his Administration for setting a tone of unity, resolve and respect.

We once again condemn these horrific acts, express our sincerest condolences to the victims’ families, and join with all Americans in pledging our full support for the President at this crucial time.

We especially appreciate the President’s leadership in articulating the message that Arab and Muslim Americans are full and active participants in American society, and have been victimized by this tragedy like all Americans.

We appreciate the opportunity to share with the President issues of concern to our community and to the nation at large.

We thank the President for his outreach to our community, and for his steady and wise leadership during this national crisis.

(ADC is the largest Arab-American grassroots organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk.)



By the Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, New York, New York 10014

A number of organizations and people have asked us about alternatives to the use of military force, the legality of the United States employing military force and what can and should be done under international law. Set forth below are some principles that should guide the United States actions and steps the United States can and should take that are short of using force.

We will not here describe in detail the policy reasons as to why the use of military force is inadvisable. Others have addressed this issue at length. Suffice it to say that military force

1) kills civilians

2) has the potential to destabilize countries such as Pakistan

3) widens the divide between the United States and Islamic nations

4) sows the seeds of future terrorism; and

5) will not make us or anyone in the world safer.

We also understand that the proposal set forth below does not address crimes committed by the United States government and some, therefore, might see it as one-sided. As lawyers who have spent our professional lives trying to make the U.S. accountable for its crimes, we will continue to do so.

However, we believe that at this point it is crucial to prevent a unilateral and disproportionate response by the United States. Reliance upon the U.N. has the potential to do that; it will also provide a forum for the trials of those suspected of terrorism and crimes against humanity. We recognize that our suggestions are not long-term solutions. Those will only come when the government of the United States and others recognize that they must change their polices and make a more just world.

Key International Law Principles and an Alternative To the Use of Military Force

1. The U.N. Charter prohibits the use of force except in matters of self-defense. Article 2(4) and Article 51.

A country is not permitted to use military force for purposes of retaliation, vengeance, and punishment. In other words, unless a future attack on the United States is imminent, it cannot use military force.

This means that even if the United States furnishes evidence as to the authors of the September 11 attack it cannot use military force against them. To this extent the congressional resolution authorizing the President to use force against the perpetrators of the attack on September 11 is a violation of international law. Instead, the U.S. must employ other means including extradition, and resolutions of the Security Council, which could eventually authorize the use of force to effectuate the arrest of suspects.

The United States will argue that the attack on September 11 was an armed attack on the United States and that it has the right to use self-defense against that attack. Even though the attack is over, it presumably would claim that those who initiated the attack were responsible for prior attacks and are planning such attacks in the future. At the same time, President Bush has stated that the “war” on terrorism would be lengthy, implying that it would go on for years.

In order to rely on this self-defense claim the U.S. would need to present evidence to the Security Council not only as to the perpetrators of the September 11 attack, but evidence that future attacks are planned and imminent. They have not yet done so. Even if the U.S. can put forth a legitimate self-defense claim, it is still to the U.N. Security Council where they ought to turn. Even in cases of self-defense, and particularly when there is sufficient time — two weeks have passed since the attack and President Bush says we are in for a “lengthy” battle — turning to the Security Council may be required. It is certainly better policy and more in keeping with the U.N. Charter to do so.

2. The U.N. Security Council has the authority and the responsibility at all times “to take any actions as it deems necessary in order to restore international peace and security.” Article 51.

The Security Council can establish an international tribunal to try those suspected of involvement in the September 11 attacks as it did with regard to Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia and request the extradition of suspects. It could apply sanctions to countries that refuse to comply as it did successfully against Libya—a strategy that resulted in the trials in Scotland. It can establish a U.N. force to effectuate arrests, prevent attacks or to counter aggression. Articles 41-50. Measures the Security Council can employ include interruptions of economic relations, rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio communications and severance of diplomatic relations. Article 41. It could apply sanctions to banks that refuse to cooperate in a freeze on the assets of suspects.

As a policy matter all of these alternatives seem superior to that currently contemplated by the U.S.—the unilateral use of force against targets in Afghanistan and other countries. The U.N. may well offer a peaceful means of bringing the perpetrators to justice; it will make the fight against terrorism a worldwide responsibility and will hopefully lessen the resentment that unilateral U.S. action frequently engenders.

In light of these principles these are the actions the U.S. should immediately undertake:

1. Convene a meeting of the Security Council.

2. Request the establishment of an international tribunal with authority to seek out, extradite or arrest and try those responsible for the September 11 attack and those who commit or are conspiring to commit future attacks

3. Establish an international military or police force under the control of U.N. and which can effectuate the arrests of those responsible for the September 11 attacks and those who commit or are conspiring to commit future attacks. It is crucial that such force should be under control of the U.N. and not a mere fig leaf for the United States as was the case in the war against Iraq.

We are hopeful that the U.N. alternative offers a way out of the violent course our nation is currently embarked upon. We see little risk in taking the steps we have outlined. We see great danger in ignoring the process that provides a path away from violence and toward peace.



The following is the full text of a memo circulated by the American Embassy in Bangkok.

To: American wardens and other American citizens in Thailand

From: US Embassy Bangkok

SUBJECT: Security Precautions

All of us have been touched by the outpouring of sympathy and support from the Thai people. However, we must not overlook the fact that Bangkok is a major tourist point and one of the world’s largest international cities. We need to be aware that some individuals transiting, visiting, or living in Thailand may have very strong feelings that conflict with ours.

While most with such views remain courteous and non-confrontational, the Embassy’s Security Office has received a few reports of harassment of Westerners by individuals opposed to U.S. policy in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Although there have been no incidents of violence or injury, emotions could continue to rise as the U.S. response to terrorism takes shape over the next several days, weeks, and months.

The Royal Thai Police is providing continued excellent support, but it is important to practice good security and avoid potential trouble when and wherever we can.

In this regard, the following security measures are recommended:

– Maintain a low profile. Avoid wearing distinctively ‘American’ garb in public.

– Avoid demonstrations of any kind. If you see one forming or coming toward you, leave the area immediately or seek safety ina public building.

– Ignore anti-American taunts or verbal comments if encountered, and leave the area immediately.

– While in your car, keep the windows up and the doors locked. If you are harassed while stopped at a red light or in traffic, remain calm, ignore the source of the harassment and leave the area as soon as possible. If you are followed, stop the first policeman you see, or drive to a police station or other location of safety. Notify the police immediately, by cell phone if you have one.

– Avoid becoming involved in arguments over U.S. policy with strangers, and break off conversations with those who insist on discussing controversial topics in a threatening manner.

– Should you observe obvious signs of anti-American sentiment, such as windows displaying pictures of Usama Bin Laden or anti-American posters, leave the area immediately.

One particular area you should be aware of is the Soi 3, Nana area where a few of the harassment complaints we have received have taken place. When you pass through this area, please be particularly mindful of your surroundings and those around you.

Should you encounter any harassment at all, or observe areas that you think should be avoided because of anti-American sentiments, please notify the police immediately. Also, please report any incidents or observations to the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit. The e-mail address is acsbkk@state.gov and the telephone number is +66 (0) 2205-4049. We will continue to keep you updated as information is received.



The following post appeared in Muslim_it_link@yahoogroups.com. it details the rights of a citizen and a non-citizen in the US and to what extent the law enforcement officials can be obliged. It also has some handy contact numbers that may help. Useful information for visitors.

By: Naima Said

Whether you are a citizen or a non-citizen, you have certain rights in the United States. Law enforcement officials may take undue advantage of your ignorance of these civil rights. It is a must read for everyone living in the USA, especially for Muslims in this environment of heightened surveillance, where everyone of them is a suspect.

What rights do I have?

The Right to Advocate for Change. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government.

The Right to Remain Silent. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to remain silent in the face of questions posed by any police officer or government agent.

The Right to be Free from “Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.” The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, no government agent is allowed to search your home or office and you can refuse to let them in. Know, however, that it is easy for the government to monitor your telephone calls, conversations in your office, home, car, or meeting place, as well as mail. E-mail is particularly insecure.

The government has already begun stepping up its monitoring of e-mails. Use of an encryption program such as PGP offers relatively secure protection for e-mail communication.


What should I do if agents come to question me?

1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT OR INVESTIGATOR. You do not have to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office, if you’ve been arrested, or even if you’re in jail. Only a judge has the legal authority to order you to answer questions.


Demand to see the warrant. The warrant must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. If they have a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that you do not consent to a search. This will limit them to the scope of the search authorized by the warrant.

3. IF THEY DO PRESENT A WARRANT, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MONITOR THEIR SEARCH AND ACTIVITIES. You have the right to observe what they do. You have the right to ask them for their names and titles. Take written notes including their names, badge numbers, and what agency they are from. Have your friends who are present act as witnesses. Give this information to your lawyer. A warrant does not give the government the right to question, nor does it obligate you to answer questions.

4. IF THE POLICE OR FBI OR INS OR ANYONE ELSE TRIES TO QUESTION YOU OR TRIES TO ENTER YOUR HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT, JUST SAY NO! Police and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. Many people are afraid that if they refuse to cooperate, it will appear as if they have something to hide. Don’t be fooled.

The police are allowed to (and do) lie to you. Although agents may seem nice and pretend to be on your side, they are likely to be intent on learning about the habits, opinions, and affiliations of people not suspected of wrongdoing, with the end goal of stopping political activity with which the government disagrees. Trying to answer agents’ questions, or trying to “educate them” about your cause can be very dangerous. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information that you give them might be used and misconstrued to hurt you or someone else.

5. IF YOU ARE STOPPED ON THE STREET, ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO. If you are stopped by the police, ask them why. If they do not have a good reason for stopping you, or if you find yourself chatting for more than about a minute, ask “Am I under arrest, or am I free to go.” If they do not state that you are under arrest, tell them that you do not wish to continue speaking with them and that you are going to go about your business. Then do so.

6. ANYTHING YOU SAY TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS ETC. WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU AND OTHERS. Once you’ve been arrested, you cannot talk your way out of it! Don’t try to engage the cops in dialogue or respond to their accusations.

7. THE FBI MAY THREATEN YOU WITH A GRAND JURY SUBPOENA IF YOU DON’T TALK TO THEM. They may give you a subpoena anyway, so anything you tell them may permit them to ask you more detailed questions later. You may also have legal grounds to refuse to answer questions before a grand jury.

If you are given a grand jury subpoena, you should call a lawyer immediately (see contact information at the end). Tell your friends and movement groups about the subpoena and discuss how to respond. Do not try to deal with this alone.

8. IF YOU ARE NERVOUS ABOUT SIMPLY REFUSING TO TALK, TELL THEM TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER. They should stop trying to question you once you announce your desire to consult a lawyer. You do not have to already have one. Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who visits you.

How should I respond to threatening letters or calls? If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made against you, your organization, or someone you work with, share this information with everyone affected. Take immediate steps to increase personal and office security. You should discuss with your organization and with a lawyer whether and how to report such incidents to the police and the advisability of taking other legal action. If you decide to make a report, do not do so without a lawyer present.

What if I suspect surveillance? Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what the basis of your suspicion. Do not hesitate to confront suspected agents politely, in public, with at least one other person present, and inquire about their business. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least now knows that you are aware of the surveillance. If you suspect government agents are monitoring you, or are harassing you, report this as described at the end of this packet.

What if I am not a citizen?


2. DO NOT TALK TO THE INS, EVEN ON THE PHONE, before talking to an immigration lawyer. Many INS officers view “enforcement,” meaning deporting people, as their primary job. They do not believe that explaining immigration options is part of their job, and most will readily admit this. (Noncitizens who are victims of domestic abuse should speak with an expert in both immigration law and domestic violence.) A noncitizen should always speak with an immigration law expert before speaking to the INS either in person or by telephone.

3. KNOW AND ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS! All noncitizens have the following rights, regardless of your immigration status: 1. The right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions or signing any documents; 2. The right to a hearing with an Immigration Judge; 3. The right to have an attorney at that hearing and in any interview with INS (however you do not have the right to a free, government- paid lawyer); and 4. The right to request release from detention, by paying a bond if necessary. Noncitizens must assert these rights. If you do not demand these rights, you can be deported without seeing either an attorney or a judge. Leaving the U.S. in this way may have serious consequences for your ability to later enter or to gain legal immigration status in the U.S.

4. TALK TO AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER BEFORE LEAVING THE U.S. Anyone not a U.S. citizen may be barred from coming back to the U.S. if they fall into certain categories of people barred from entering. This includes some lawful permanent residents and applicants for green cards. Some noncitizens that have been in the U.S. without INS permission may be permanently barred from re-entering. In addition, some noncitizens that leave the US and return with INS permission may be swiftly removed from the U.S. if they end up in immigration proceedings.


Partnership for Civil Justice In Washington, DC, request assistance or report incidents of harassment to (202) 530-5630 National Lawyers Guild National office: (212) 627-2656, www.nlg.org National Immigration Project: (617) 227-9727

First Amendment Foundation A resource on civil liberties and the right of political dissent. (202) 529-4225.

National Immigration Law Center Information law information is available on American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Report hate crimes and harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims to (202) 244-2990.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Advocating for American-Muslim rights and against acts of discrimination. (202) 488-8787



From: Allan Davidson, Budget Car and Truck Rental of Thailand

I respect you and your work immensely, and genuinely believe you are the best travel writer in Asia. Your Letters to the Editor remark “Another outpouring of scintillating opinions on previous dispatches of Newswire.”, however, is disappointing when it relates to what I think are some very fair and balanced comments on your rare departure from balanced reporting, for which you have a great reputation. The acts of terrorism wire you sent was unbalanced, unnecessary and unhelpful to the times. Please don’t compound a mistake by shooting the messengers. I hope you take my two Bahts worth in the spirit it is given.


From: David Cogswell, Travel Weekly

Just want to let you know that I appreciate your newsletter. It is on a higher level of consciousness than most of the travel messages I get and I appreciate that. I especially appreciate the message from Kofi Annan in this edition. Thanks.


From: Robert W. Olesen, Marriott International

I, like many writers of letters you printed today, believe that your journalistic integrity is waning with a very one-sided picture of what is happening today in the United States of America and around the world as a result of the terrorist acts of September 11th. While others have written about your printing anything negative happening to Muslims while ignoring the positive stories of people of different faiths pulling together in the U.S., I also strongly object to the printing of the letter from the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Bangkok in yesterday’s edition.

The pastor sent to you the text of a 1904 writing by a woman of a visit to a big city. For a pastor to pass along a writing which has elements of prophecy, but which is not founded on the scriptural basis of his or her faith, is wrong. He has, by simply being a pastor, given religious credence to the inflammatory remarks in that 1904 writing. If he is of the belief that God denounces tall buildings, that all workers in such tall buildings are only there for greed and to suppress the poor, and that such a calamity as befell the tall buildings was brought on by the inhabitants of those buildings – which is surely the implication of the 1904 writing, then I can assure you that he does not speak for the Christian faith anymore than Osama bin Laden speaks for the Muslim faith.

The pastor’s submission of the letter to you was wrong and your printing of it was equally wrong. A true journalist is not simply a repeater of everything which comes his or her way. A journalist is to be unbiased, but that requires looking at all sides of an issue and making certain that before anything is printed, the material is true and complete. Integrity, Trust, Accuracy and Respect. Those are your tenets printed at the end of the newsletter. Please make certain that every article you print and even every letter to you which you print meets all four of those tests. I look forward to your newsletter returning to the emphasis on the travel industry.


From: A reader in Hong Kong who wanted to remain anonymous.

I simply wanted to let you know how impressive your news service has been since WTC. The state-by-state round-up of acts of bigotry and violence towards Muslims was depressingly informative. I have not seen such comprehensive coverage of these incidents in the Western media, and I have forwarded that article to many people for that reason. You really deserve a wider circulation.

It is unfortunate that you are receiving Letters to the Editor criticising you for becoming politicized (which is of course nonsense). You are doing a great job and are addressing issues directly relevant to the travel industry.

All the best Imtiaz, and hoping to see you again at WTM this year. Come over to the Hong Kong stand.


From: A reader in Indonesia who also wanted to remain anonymous.

I am with you all the way. Thanks for your dispatches. Finally, we have someone in tourism who does not put on pink spectacles to see the world all rosy. You have shown that tourism is part of the world, and not a world that thinks only of pleasure and hedonistic pleasures. You have shown that terrorism and violence also impacts on tourism, and we must dare to face the issues, and somehow take a stand. Congratulations on your articles. I can see you are all involved in this as you sent me a stream of them this last week.

Here in Indonesia we, the government and the police and military do not want any funny things like flushing out Americans, or what is here known as “sweeping”. But then, we are supposed to be a new democracy where everyone can say what he thinks, this is the new freedom. That is what we have learnt from the Americans, little realizing that America has its laws in place, while we don’t. That is the reason for the dithering of the security officials. If they act, then suddenly it is a violation against human rights. We are only just now finding the thin line between stern action and violating human rights.

But, in the meantime, let us all hope and pray that the war will not erupt.


From: A Malaysian reader who also wanted to remain anonymous

I read your many articles on the current ongoings in relations to the tragedy in NYC. Tourism is a very sensitive and fragile industry. Any slight occurrence of any nature and with the help of ‘bias’ media barons showing and highlighting the ‘incident’ countless times wil have an adverse impact on tourism. Malaysia experienced this very well when we had the haze and the so called ‘riot’ problem a few years back. The international media particularly CNN continue to show ‘old’ pictures of the haze and the ‘riot crowds’ in KL even after conditions are back to normal resulted in many tour cancellations to KL and M’sia in general.

Even before the tragedy occurred, I have always emphasised on local tourism and regional tourism. With local tourism and regional tourism especially within neghbouring countries, you can never go wrong. Of course, long haul markets do spend more but you will agree that they are the most sensitive group since they rely heavily on the media to inform them of global ongoings.

NTOs in the Southeast Asian region have mentioned that they are now making a review of their marketing strategy to concentrate on regional and Asian markets. Does this mean that all the while these markets are of no importance? Only when something goes wrong then we turn to these markets for help. I look at this situation a bit different. M’sia has pumped a lot of money into the Thai and S’porean markets. Its time the players concerned look seriously at regional and neighbouring markets for inbound and outbound tourism.

On terrorism, we should ask firstly why would someone want to become a terrorist. There must a strong reason and cause. Why would someone commit suicide for a cause. Look at the bigger picture than what is most glaring in front of you. I condemn any acts of violence to fellow mankind but we need to ponder real hard on the core issues.