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Update: Attacks Reported Against Arab-Americans, Muslims in Chicago

CHICAGO--Attacks and incidents of harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims continue to be reported in Chicago, following the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon yesterday and the crashes of four hijacked airliners.
ATTACKS REPORTED AGAINST ARAB AMERICANS, MUSLIMS IN CHICAGO

September 12, 2001 11 PM Eastern Time

CHICAGO--Attacks and incidents of harassment against Arab Americans and Muslims continue to be reported in Chicago, following the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon yesterday and the crashes of four hijacked airliners.

Channel 7 Television in Chicago reported the following information at 10.35 PM local time:

Approximately 350 people, some waving American flags gathered in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview and attempted to march on the Mosque at 95th Street and Southwest Highway. The Bridgeview police commander interviewed on the television said there had been some "altercations" and some arrests, that police were out in force, and they would prevent any attack against the mosque. Bridgeview has a high concentration of Arab Americans.

Other anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incidents have been reported by the news media in Chicago:

WBEZ radio reported this evening that a man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after allegedly entering a Chicago gas station, and attacking the Arab American attendant with a two foot long machete. According to the radio, the assailant first asked the gas station attendant which country he was from. When the man answered that he was an American citizen of Moroccan origin, the suspect went back to his car to get his weapon. The victim suffered wounds on his arms.

Channel 7 and other media reported that a firebomb was thrown at a Muslim school early this morning. It bounced off the wall and exploded on the ground causing no damage or injuries. Two Muslim schools in the Chicago suburbs received bomb threats today,and both remained closed, even though public schools were open.

A man was arrested on September 11 after he allegedly assaulted an AAAN staff person near the organization's offices. No one was injured in the incident.

Other incidents of verbal harassment have been reported against school children, and women wearing hijab. AAAN and other community organizations are monitoring and responding to these incidents.

On the positive side, a press conference was held by a number of organizations in Chicago, in solidarity with Arab Americans and Muslims.

The press conference was convened by American Friends Service Committee, Illinois Peace Action, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and RefugeeRights, Japanese American Citizens League, National Lawyers Guild, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Jewish Peace Forum, Not In MyName, Eighth Day Center for Justice.

Muslim, Jewish and Christian groups with the participation of ReverendJesse Jackson, held a prayer vigil near the Federal buildings in downtown

Chicago calling for unity in the face of the enormous national tragedy.Many messages of support and solidarity have been received by AAAN fromindividuals all over the country.

Incidents of harassment or threats should be immediately reported to thepolice, and to the Mayor's Advisory Council on Arab Affairs at (312)744-4115.
 
 

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