TERRORISM OR HATE CRIME?
- TERRORISM OR HATE CRIME?
Eric Boehlert, Salon.com, 4/17/03
On Independence Day last summer, a depressed 41-year-old Muslim
immigrant by the name of Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, whose views on the
Arab-Israeli conflict had become increasingly extreme, approached the
ticket counter of the Israeli-run El Al airline at Los Angeles
International Airport. Loaded down with a recently purchased .45-
caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol, a 9 mm handgun and a 6-inch
knife, he opened fire. During a 30-second rampage, Hadayet emptied
the 10-round revolver, killing two people and injuring scores more,
before an El Al security guard shot him dead.
Six weeks later, in Tampa, Fla., a depressed Jewish podiatrist by the
name of Dr. Robert Goldstein, 38, who wanted to send a message on
behalf of "his people" following the attacks of Sept. 11, and to
express his anger over the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, was
arrested after police raided his home. There they discovered a
detailed plan to blow up 50 local mosques and Islamic centers, "kill
all 'rags,'" and "liquidate" Muslims during the attacks if
Ultimately, law enforcement authorities would label one man a
terrorist, and the other a dangerous but deluded perpetrator of hate
crimes. How do two crimes with similarities that seem highly relevant
in the midst of a war on terrorism come to be defined so
"There's a political will to charge terrorism on certain cases and
not on others," says Khurrum Wahid, a criminal defense attorney and
legal advisor to CAIR, the nation's largest Arab-American advocacy
group. "And it's being used against anyone that's consistent with who
we're going after for the 9/11 attacks..."
Adds Cannistraro, "The government seemed to be giving in to political
pressure. It's unfortunate, but everything connected to terrorism is
politicized these days."
HATE CRIMES TARGET ARABS & MUSLIMS
Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News, 4/17/03
Zakir H., a young Muslim immigrant, was walking home in Midwood in
January when five men assaulted and stabbed him. The reason? His
Middle Eastern looks.
Some Pakistani friends took him to the hospital, but mindful that
police could report to immigration that his visa had expired, Zakir
did not tell the truth. He said that his wound was self-inflicted
and, to this day, has not filed a crime report.
Zakir's case is not unique. Violence against Arab and Muslim
immigrants increased after 9/11, and the war on Iraq seems to have
Besides, many immigrants believe the NYPD is now more involved in
immigration enforcement. Consequently, they think twice about going
to the police for help or to report a crime.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations reports more than a dozen
serious new incidents in March alone. Because victims do not dare go
to the authorities, most of the crimes go unpunished.
That's why a group of diverse immigrant community leaders and civil
rights advocates have come together to condemn violence and find ways
to end it.
They cite the case of Larme Price. This is the deranged Brooklyn man
who, blinded by ethnic hatred, allegedly killed four immigrant
merchants in Queens and Brooklyn, in a six-week killing spree that
ended with his March 28 arrest. It was one of the worst series of
hate crimes against immigrants in recent history.
"This is not about a single deranged killer. This is about a climate
of hatred against Arabs and Muslims," said Patrick Young, a lawyer
with the Central American Refugee Center and board chairman of the
New York Immigration Coalition...
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