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IRAQI-AMERICAN STABBED IN FLORIDA

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  • ummyakoub
    TOWN HALL FOCUSES ON HATE-CRIME PREVENTION Diane Reed, Orange County Register, 5/30/03 http://www2.ocregister.com/ocrweb/ocr/article.do?id=41446 ANAHEIM HILLS
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2003
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      TOWN HALL FOCUSES ON HATE-CRIME PREVENTION
      Diane Reed, Orange County Register, 5/30/03
      http://www2.ocregister.com/ocrweb/ocr/article.do?id=41446

      ANAHEIM HILLS - Rashid Alam and Greg Harris experienced different
      things but learned the same lesson - love and forgiveness.

      Alam and Harris, victims of a racially motivated beating and a cross-
      burning, respectively, told a crowd of about 65 people at a community
      forum Thursday night about the support they received in the aftermath
      of the crimes against them.

      "I do not hate the people who did this to me," said Alam, a Muslim
      teenager from Yorba Linda who was attacked at a park Feb. 23. "While
      I lay in my bed, I received many letters and cards from people I
      didn't even know. I realized that not all Americans are like this.
      Now I love America, and I hate the word 'hate.'"

      The forum was presented by the Orange County Human Relations
      Commission and the Council on American-Islamic Relations to develop
      hate-crime prevention strategies and to let the community know the
      consequences of such crimes....

      Alam and Harris both gave messages of hope to the crowd.

      "I heard from people I hadn't seen since high school," said Harris, a
      black man who woke up March 18 to find a 10-foot cross burning at his
      Anaheim Hills home. Neighbors and strangers responded by leaving
      flowers on his porch and sending messages of support.

      "What happened afterward shows that Americans will no longer tolerate
      (racism)," Harris said.

      SEE ALSO:

      IRAQI-AMERICAN STABBED IN FLORIDA
      Incident part of trend towards violence against Muslims

      (Miami, FL, 5/30/03) - Florida's office of the Washington-based
      Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) expressed concern
      over the rising tide of violent hate crimes being directed against
      Muslims in Florida.

      A Florida man has been charged under that state's hate crime statute
      after allegedly stabbing an Iraqi-American in Sunrise, Fla.

      Officials with the Sunrise Police Department say Christopher Coward,
      27, allegedly pulled up in front of Essam Alsayaf Wednesday afternoon
      as he changed a tire at a gas station. According to the victim and
      witnesses, Coward pulled out a 7 or 8-inch knife, called Alsayaf
      an "Iraqi terrorist" and stabbed him in the biceps.

      Coward's statements during the incident lead to him being charged
      with aggravated and simple battery under the hate crime statute,
      which enhances the penalty for any conviction. Alsayaf did not
      require medical attention.


      SEE:
      www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/states/florida/counties/browa
      rd_county/5972972.htm

      http://www.sheriff.org/apps/arrest/details.cfm?ID=250300721

      "At a time when hate crimes in general are down, the number of hate
      crimes against American-Muslims are ominously increasing," said Altaf
      Ali, Executive Director, CAIR-FL.

      "Our office is receiving calls almost every day from ordinary
      American-Muslims who find themselves the victims of hate crimes,
      racial epithets and discrimination. We urge our elected
      representatives to make strong public appeals about tolerance and
      respect while law enforcement needs to send an unambiguous signal
      that all acts of racial intolerance will not be tolerated and be
      prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law," added Ali.

      On February 22, 2003 Nasseer Idrisi, an Iraqi American professor
      profiled in The Miami Herald a week earlier, was severely beaten by
      employees of Beach Towing.

      The Miami Herald reported that police spokesman Bobby Hernandez
      said, "Idrisi was definitely the victim. He was beaten and didn't
      fight." The Manger of the towing company is reported to have
      said, "They say he was cursing in Arabic. He's from over there."

      "Miami Beach police did not classify this beating as a hate crime
      although it is quite clear that Mr. Idrisi's foreign language lead to
      his severe beating," added Ali.

      CAIR-FL is encouraging victims of hate crimes to fill out report
      forms, which are available for download at:
      https://www.readysecure2.com/users/cair-floridaorg/ireport/, or by
      calling 954- 916-5661.

      *********************************************************************

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