Sunday, August 20, 2006

Suspicions and Muslims

Last week, Natasha Tynes flagged this article about incidents of prejudice against Muslims in the U.S.:
"Motaz Elshafi, 28, a software engineer, casually opened an internal e-mail at work last month. The message began, "Dear Terrorist." The note from a co-worker was sent to Muslims working at Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park, N.C., a few days after train bombings in India that killed 207. The e-mail warned that such violent acts wouldn't intimidate people, but only make them stronger...

"Derr says she has seen some Muslim children so traumatized by violent bigotry that she wonders whether they'll ever recover. Last October, a Seattle high school junior who had faced verbal harassment was assaulted in gym class. He suffered a hemorrhage behind his eye and a collapsed lung, Derr says. 'The good thing is that the student who did it was convicted of a hate crime.'

"But the beaten boy won't go back to school, she says. 'He's terrified. You can see how damaged he has been. He won't look you in the eye; he just shrinks back. He won't talk.' The family came from Afghanistan four years ago, she says...

"A few years ago, in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Asad says two men approached her and aggressively shouted 'Y'all ought to be (expletive) locked up!' Pregnant at the time, she quickly backed away and then realized there were parked cars behind her. 'I felt trapped and very vulnerable. I'm pregnant. I didn't know if they were going to get violent.' Luckily, she says, they just walked away. The mother of three girls says she developed ulcers a few months after 9/11. 'I feel stressed a lot.'"

Meanwhile, Daily Kos notes a Muslim physician was removed from a flight when a passenger regarded his praying as suspicious.

The Daily Kos post was inspired by today's news of two people of Middle Eastern origin removed from a flight due to unspecified "suspicious" activity. About that, a member of the UK's Conservative party had this to say:
"The Conservative homeland security spokesman, Patrick Mercer, described the incident as 'a victory for terrorists'.

"'These people on the flight have been terrorised into behaving irrationally,' he told the Mail on Sunday.

"'For those unfortunate two men to be victimised because of the colour of their skin is just nonsense.'"

Perhaps all these people whom we expect to be vigilant should get more guidance in what constitutes suspicious behavior.


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