- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

President Bush yesterday urged Americans not to vent their outrage at Arabs and Muslims over the terrorist attacks that likely killed thousands of people in New York and Washington on Tuesday.

During a televised call with New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Gov. George E. Pataki, both Republicans, Mr. Bush said forcefully that patriotic Americans come from all backgrounds.

"Our nation must be mindful that there are thousands of Arab Americans that live in New York City who love the flag just as much" as other Americans, Mr. Bush said.

Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a similar statement after a meeting between the head of the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, Ralph Boyd, and prominent Arab and Muslim groups.

Federal authorities are pursuing more than a dozen hijackers of Middle Eastern heritage in Tuesday's attacks and have linked them to Saudi-born mastermind Osama bin Laden's network of Islamic terrorists who profess a militant brand of Islam that most Muslims reject.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Ashcroft made the statements as hundreds of news reports of threats and attempted violence against Arabs and Muslims poured in from throughout the country.

In the Washington area, residents were also the subject of sporadic threats, but Jean Abinader, executive director of the District-based Arab-American Institute, said close links between community groups and police were paying off.

They have strong relationships with the local authorities because of the multicultural city, he said. "They need not hesitate to call the police if something happens."

Mr. Abinader praised the reactions of Bush administration officials.

However, he said he was "very worried" by radio call-in shows that have, in the name of free speech, allowed callers to "spew hate" against Arabs and Muslims.

Wednesday night, police in Bridgeview, Ill., turned back 300 marchers — some waving American flags and shouting "USA! USA!" — as they tried to march on a mosque in the Chicago suburb. Three demonstrators were arrested.

There were no injuries and demonstrators were kept blocks from the closed Muslim house of worship.

"I'm proud to be American and I hate Arabs and I always have," said 19-year-old Colin Zaremba who marched with the group from Oak Lawn.

Other incidents included:

• A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Islamic cultural center in Denton, Texas.

• A firebomb was thrown at an Arab meeting place in Chicago. No injuries were reported.

• A Palos Heights, Ill., man was charged with a hate crime after attacking a Moroccan gas station attendant with the blunt end of a machete.

• In Eugene, Ore., a man was charged with first-degree intimidation, after police said he phoned in a threat to a local Muslim community center.

Ziad Asali, president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, expressed concern about both the bias incidents and Tuesday's terror attacks.

"Arab Americans, in addition to feeling the intense depths of pain and anger at this attack we share with all our fellow citizens, are feeling deep anxiety about becoming the targets of anger from other Americans," he said.

In a show of patriotism, 45 persons from the Islamic community in Tampa, Fla., registered with blood services to donate Wednesday, and 30 members of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Florida signed up.

"You feel the pain twice: Once because of what has happened and once because of the looks you get," said Sami Al-Arian, an engineering teacher at the University of South Florida.


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