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Columbus hate crime attack latest in national epidemic

The attempted murder of a 25-year-old Arab-American in Columbus, Ohio, is the latest in a string of racist attacks that have plagued the city of Columbus in the last six months.
Columbus hate crime attack latest in national epidemic

Mar. 27(AGR)-- Last Saturday’s attack and attempted murder of a 25-year-old Arab-American in Columbus, Ohio, is the latest in a string of racist attacks that have plagued the city of Columbus in the last six months. The man, a US citizen, was in his home at 1659 Summit Ave., a main thoroughfare, when two men with guns forced their way into his half of a duplex apartment.

He was then brutally beaten and robbed. The gunmen bound him to a chair and upon leaving set the building on fire. The man escaped with minor injuries after throwing himself, still bound, through a window to the relative safety of the Columbus streets.

Police are investigating the case as a “possible hate crime” after finding a note left by the attackers reading, “We don’t want your kind in our country.” Police have no reported leads in the case.

The city’s response to this shocking crime has been muted. Last Tuesday, after the incident was reported in a brief buried in the Columbus Dispatch, a small group of roughly ten concerned residents gathered outside the burnt remains of the house holding signs reading, “Racism is Terrorism.” One of the people present stated, “Government has predictably failed to stop the rising tide of hate crimes in Columbus.” Columbus city government and the city’s Human Relations Commission have failed to respond.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York, hate crimes against all minorities — but especially against those perceived to be Muslim — have been on the rise.

Columbus has been the rule rather then the exception in this area. With the largest Arabic population in Ohio, many of whom are refugees from the US war on Somalia, harassment and attacks have become common.

In the same campus area as Saturday’s attack, an Indian/Pakistani restaurant that used to boast perhaps the best Pakistani cuisine to be found in the city has changed its street front sign to advertise only Indian food. This came after vandals damaged the business following the Sept. 11 attacks.

In November, the Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, located at the edge of the downtown area, was severely damaged. Vandals tore up religious books and writings, then flooded and destroyed the mosque. After that attack, the city’s Human Relations Commission, headed by Rev. Jim Stowe, held a brief rally outside the mosque calling for tolerance. Police still have no leads in the case.

Since Sept. 11, hate crimes against Muslims, Sikhs, and Indians have been a national epidemic. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, they alone received over 300 reports of harassment and abuse in the two days following the terrorist attacks — more then half of what they receive in a typical year.

A report released two weeks ago by the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium states that, unlike the hate crime incidents typically reported, which generally involve relatively young male offenders and male victims, the post-Sept. 11 backlash victims and perpetrators include women, senior citizens, shop owners and even children.

There are roughly seven million Muslims living in the US.

Source: Asheville Global Report: www.agrnews.org
 
 

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