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Thread: Hate crimes

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    Bent_Bladi is offline Registered User
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    US MUSLIMS CELEBRATE RAMADAN WITH HEAVY HEARTS

    by Mary Chapman
    Sun Sep 24, 2:20 PM ET



    DEARBORN, United States (AFP) - During what should be a joyous time of fellowship, worship and reflection, many Muslims streamed into the Islamic Center of America on the first night of Ramadan with heavy hearts.


    Sick of the suspicious glances, slurs and false accusations of being terrorists, they feel like second-class citizens in their own country.

    "I feel comfortable at home but once I leave there, and leave my community, I feel like I'm in a whole different atmosphere right now," 18-year-old Zeinab Zahreldin, a freshman at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, told AFP late Saturday. "It's not at all comfortable."

    The Detroit area has around 200,000 Muslims and the suburb of Dearborn has one of the highest concentrations of Arab-Americans in the United States. Businesses here post Arabic signs, most restaurants serve Halal meat, and Arabs are prominent in local politics.

    But five years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, it seems like a new reason for anxiety and alienation comes every week. Most recently, it was Pope Benedict XVI's remarks linking Islam to violence.

    Before that was President George W. Bush's use of the term Islamofacists. And then there were the local college students arrested as terrorists because they bought pre-paid cell phones.

    "I have to pray real hard when I come to Ramadan, everything is so different now," said Ali Almuna, an Iraqi immigrant who moved to the United States 11 years ago. "The way the people look at us and treat us. There's a lot of discrimination. I've had bad language used toward me, my wife and kids. One day strangers called us terrorists. I didn't say anything, I just thought that was so sad."

    Almuna managed to bring his wife and children from Iraq five years ago after working odd jobs and saving up enough money to buy his own semi-truck. Now he wants to go back to Iraq.

    "The United States has made a lot of mistakes, so life is hard in a lot of ways. They've made mistakes in Iraq, and here too. A lot of people are out of jobs, lost their businesses," he said.

    "So as bad as it is back home -- it's miserable for my family, no running water, no electricity -- but I'd rather be around my family there, you know? But I don't know about the kids. So, I came here two times today, to pray for a better life for all of us."

    And for good reason.

    A recent Gallup poll showed that 39 percent of Americans admit to being prejudiced against Muslims, a third think Muslim Americans sympathize with Al Qaeda and nearly a quarter say they would not want a Muslim for a neighbor.

    An upcoming study in the Journal of Human Resources found that wages of Arab Americans and Muslims fell 10 percent in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    And a study of the psychological health of Arab Americans shows that half now suffer from clinical depression, compared with an average of 20 percent for the general population.

    "I prepare the Ramadan meals for my family, we break our fasts together but it's not like it used to be," said Zaranne Hakim of Dearborn. "We don't have as many relatives over anymore. It seems like there's so much going on now everywhere."

    During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are to abstain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.

    The remaining free time is to be devoted to prayer and charity. At temples verses of the Qu'ran are recited each night. By the end of Ramadan, the complete scripture has been recited.

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    ARSONISTS TORCH ISLAMIC SCHOOL ON 1ST DAY OF RAMADAN

    Ottawa police say a fire at a private Islamic school in the city's west end early Saturday morning was not a hate crime - but the chairman of the school's board disagrees.

    The fire at Abraar School on Grenon Avenue broke out around 3 a.m. ET on the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

    The fire caused $100,000 in damages and destroyed part of the roof. There were no injuries.

    Police said the fire was the work of arsonists but added that they found no indication it was motivated by hate.

    "At this time, we haven't got any evidence pointing towards a hate crime," Det. Will Hinterberger of the Ottawa Police Hate Crime Unit told the Ottawa Sun.

    But Abdala Kheireddine, the chairman of the school board, told the paper he disagreed with the police assessment.

    "As far as we're concerned, it's still under investigation [as a hate crime]," he said.

    "In my time [at the school], neighbourhood kids would disturb some of the playground toys and things like that but never anything of this magnitude."

    Abraar School made headlines in 2005 when two teachers were suspended after allegedly praising a student for an anti-Semitic essay he wrote. The story was about revenge on Israel for the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the leader of the Hamas militant group.

    School officials said they expected classes to run as usual on Monday.

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    voltaire is offline Registered User
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    This is appalling, although I daresay most Americans would also be horrified by such attacks.



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    Students charged with assaulting Arab-American merchant
    The Associated Press

    Published: October 25, 2006


    CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Michigan Three teenagers accused of attacking an Arab-American merchant were charged with ethnic intimidation and assault.

    Rodney Hayes, 17, was charged as an adult with assault and battery and ethnic intimidation. Dyeida Wilson, 18, and Antoneo Hardy, 19, were charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and ethnic intimidation. All are from Detroit which, along with its suburbs, is home to one of the largest concentrations of Arab Americans in the United States.

    The melee began Monday when the students, who were standing at a bus stop, knocked down a nearby sign advertising a business owned by Joe Khalil, police said.

    "Usually, I just ignore them," Khalil told The Detroit News for a Wednesday story. "But (Monday) I went outside and told them to stop knocking down my sign."

    The suspects called him an ethnically derogative name "and told me to go back to where I came from," said Khalil, who is half-Lebanese and half-German and was born in the United States.

    One of the students struck Khalil in the face. They also began fighting with employees of a neighboring Marathon gas station owned by another Arab-American and threatened a worker with knives, said Lt. Mark Rybinski of the Clinton Township Police Department.

    "Then they took an American flag from the gas station and cut one of the employees in the face with the sharp end of the flagpole," Rybinski said.

    The suspects attend an alternative high school education and job training center.


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