December 4, 2004
Written by C.N.
Originally posted Mar 2003
As a recent article by the Associated Press details, many Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs in the U.S. fear that they will be the targets of another wave of hate crimes and racism, similar to what many of them experienced after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Recent actions by the Immigration and Naturalization Service directed against the Arab American community may have also contributed to the potentially hostile climate. Specifically, the INS has detained and deported many Arab Americans only because their immigration documents were not completed, which was caused by backlogs in the INS system. The Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund has set up a toll-free telephone number to report incidents of hate violence, detention, racial profiling, police misconduct, and other acts of discrimination at 1-800-966-5946.
Without getting into a discussion into whether war with Iraq is justified or not, I would like to urge everyone to be mindful that Americans come in many colors and from many backgrounds. Let us remember the lessons of the Japanese imprisonment during World War II and not scapegoat an entire community for the actions of a few who are only remotely associated with them. I hope that we also remember that expressing dissent against the war is not unpatriotic — in fact, it’s part of our rights and freedoms as Americans. Let’s also keep in mind that despite differences in opinion, both sides of the war debate almost universally support our troops who are risking their lives to protect American ideals and freedoms. I think we can all agree that we want our men and women to come home as quickly as possible and with as few causalities as possible.
Update: Even though it looks like the war is over and that the U.S. has basically accomplished most, if not all, of its goals, that does not necessarily mean that the danger of hate crimes against Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs has significantly lessened. As an American, I am glad that the war did not result in massive, catastrophic causalities on both sides, and that the Iraqi people are now rid of an evil tyrant. At the same time, like many other Americans, I still think the invasion sets a bad international precedent (especially in light of the fact that contrary to the U.S.’s expectations, very few, if any, weapons of mass destruction including biological and chemical weapons have been found in Iraq) and hope that it does not lead to more hatred, resentment, and terrorist attacks on the U.S.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Here We Go Again" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2004/12/here-we-go-again/> ().
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