Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

America's bloodiest day
Bush calls for calm amid attacks by bigots

Associated Press

FREMONT, Calif. — President Bush urged the public yesterday not to take vengeance against Arab-American and Muslim communities for the terrorist attacks, but some found little comfort in his words.

In a neighborhood that is home to about two dozen Afghan-American businesses, people felt the president needed to extend protection to other groups that feel targeted or under suspicion because of the devastation in New York and Washington.

Afghan Americans also "don't have anything to do with this situation," said Zabi Habashzada at an Afghan market in Fremont. "They don't have to be blamed for an action done by some terrorists."

The prime suspect in the terror plot is Saudi-born terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was given asylum by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers. Federal authorities have also identified more than a dozen hijackers of Middle Eastern descent in Tuesday's attacks.

The president said yesterday that "we must be mindful ... we treat Arab Americans and Muslims with the respect they deserve.

"We should not hold one who is a Muslim responsible for an act of terror."

But Homayoun Khamosh, who owns Pamir Food Market in Fremont, said someone had thrown rocks and a bottle at his store.

His wife begged him to stay home from work, Khamosh said. But he went, and hung a patriotic banner from his shop window.

"I have to live my life," he said.

Around the country, Arab Americans, Muslims and others, continued to report harassment and violence.

Police in Bridgeview, Ill., turned back 300 marchers — some waving American flags and shouting "USA! USA!" — as they tried to march Wednesday on a mosque.

"I'm proud to be American, and I hate Arabs, and I always have," said 19-year-old Colin Zaremba, who marched with the group.

In Palos Heights, Ill., a man who used the blunt end of a machete to attack a Moroccan gas station attendant was charged with a hate crime, police said.

And in Huntington, N.Y., a 75-year-old man tried to run over a Pakistani woman in a shopping mall parking lot, police said. The man followed the woman into a store and threatened to kill her for "destroying my country," authorities said.

Early yesterday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown against the side of the Islamic Society of Denton, Texas, causing an estimated $2,500 in damage, said Kiersten Dieterle, a spokeswoman for the Dallas suburb. There were no injuries.

Eight hate incidents were reported in Los Angeles, including one assault in which a gun was put to a woman's face, said city police.