12 September 2001
First of all, to all our fellow American citizens, I want to express the deep shock, outrage and anger that the entire Arab-American community has felt as a result of the heinous and reprehensible attack against our society yesterday in New York and Washington, DC.
Make no mistake about it, this attack was aimed at all Americans without exception and the Arab-American community shared every bit of the heartache and anguish that all Americans have been enduring. No matter who was responsible for this terrible crime, which no cause or ideology could possibly justify, Arab Americans will be no less moved, no less angry and no less outraged than our fellow Americans.
learly, the best answer to such a despicable attack is for all Americans to join hands and come together to support each other in our time of need. Arab Americans are among the most eager to do just that. We stand with our country and fellow citizens in struggling to get through this national nightmare.
Unfortunately, as grief gives way to understandable anger, a pattern of collective blame and scapegoating against Arab Americans and Muslims seems to be emerging even before the culpability of any single individual has been established.
Even if persons with connections to the Arab world or the Islamic faith prove to have had a hand in this outrage, there can be no reason or excuse for collective blame against any ethnic or religious community. Already we have received numerous disturbing reports of violent attacks, threats and harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims in many parts of the country and the pattern seems to be growing.
As a result 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.
We appeal to all Americans to bear in mind that crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them, not ethnic or religious groups.
This rising tide of hostility towards Arab Americans is creating a troubling situation for communities around the nation. It is the goal and purpose of ADC, the leading membership and civil rights organization of the Arab-American community, to ensure that every Arab American who faces harrassement, discrimination or hate crimes has a support mechanism and an organization to defend them.
ADC is committed to providing this service to our community at this time of crisis, and we are ready to do everything in our power to assist any Arab American who is the subject of discrimination or hatred.
We urge all Arab Americans to exercise caution, use their common sense, be aware of and alert to those around them and to report any suspicious behavior or threats to the police and ADC.
ADC is there as a resource for Arab Americans and Americans in general to help in any way it can. We are ready to help bridge the gaps in perception and communication that lead to misunderstanding and even conflict between the United States and the Arab and Islamic world.
We are committed to fostering and promoting dialogue in order to counter all those in the Middle East and here in the United States who would promote the false idea that there is or should be a generalized conflict between the United States and the Arab World or between the West and Islam.
Ziad Asali, President, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee