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19 Apr, 2013

Arab-Americans Issue Advisory: Be Cautious, Report Hate Crimes


Washington, DC | www.adc.org | April 18, 2013 — As a result of a recent increase in attacks and discrimination targeting Arab and Muslim Americans following the bombing in Boston, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is asking that all members of the affected communities exercise extreme caution and immediately report any incidents of harassment, abuse, or violence by first calling 911, and then contacting ADC.

Editor’s Note: This is the full text of an advisory issued by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. If the U.S. travel & tourism industry thinks this will not have an impact on the image of the United States abroad, and impact on visitor arrivals, it had better think again.

ADC reiterates that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone in the United States, including non-citizens.

A succession of attacks in the past two days suggests that bigoted rhetoric and poor reporting has manifested into apparent hate crimes. Last night in New York a Bangladeshi man was taunted and beaten for looking Arab. Today a Palestinian woman in Boston was assaulted and aggressively harassed while walking with her baby. The man who assaulted her screamed “’F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!’”

Earlier today we posted a statement online, since then more incidents have been reported to us by our members. A photo of a 17-year-old Boston high school student of Arab descent was featured on the front page of the New York Post – the Post called him a “suspect” without having any evidence. The student contacted the Boston police and was able to clear his name.

ADC will work with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and appropriate law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute all hate crimes.

ADC calls on the members of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh American communities to take the following into account:

• If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: call the police (dial 911), and/or contact the local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. A list of FBI field offices is included on our website, please see: http://adc.org/fbi_field_office.

• 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 Muslims, contact your local law enforcement officials and ask for protection during the night prayers, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Lastly, it is advisable to find out whether the location has an open line of communication with law enforcement.

• 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, the ADC Legal Department offers pro bono legal services, contact them at: (202) 244-2990. For legal concerns email legal@adc.org, for media matters email media@adc.org.