Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Kits prepare Muslims for backlash

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is distributing this week 3,000 "community safety kits" that are to help American Muslims, Arab-Americans and those who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent better handle ethnic profiling or hate crimes during the war with Iraq.

The nine-page kits are being circulated throughout Greater Cincinnati's Muslim community. But some of the region's 15,000 Muslims doubt their ability to stop the backlash - especially as American soldiers die.

"Sometimes it's easy to look for a scapegoat for those who may harbor stereotypes in their mind," said Dr. Inayat Malik of the Islamic Center in West Chester.

"Even though there were a number of Muslims killed in the Twin Towers, there was a backlash against people of Muslim faith and Middle East origin. We certainly hope that we ... have learned from it and won't be defeated."

Local Muslims reported that their lives changed after Sept. 11. The Islamic Center received several threatening phone calls.

Strangers on the street called them names and told them to go back to their country. This happened despite many of the Muslims being born in the United States and living in Greater Cincinnati for decades.

"We're certainly praying that there are no incidents of backlash at any Arab-Americans in the United States," Malik said.

The safety kit provides such tips as:

• Reporting suspicious activity in your community.

• Developing a legal and emergency contact list.

• Developing positive relationships with law enforcement agencies.

• Meeting with elected officials to discuss community concerns.

• Reporting all incidents of anti-Muslim hate to the FBI.

"These are pro-active steps that they can take to protect against backlash," said Hodan Hassan, national communications coordinator for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It was important that we just prepare for the war and hope for the best."

To get a copy of the report, visit www.cair-net.org.

TRISTATE REACTS TO WAR ( Latest war news )
Ky. pilot hurt in attack on camp
Truck scatters antiwar protest
Local Marine at front makes front page
Keeping in touch with Tristate military
Donations sought for troops
Kits prepare Muslims for backlash
Clermont County to hold rally
Messages of support invited
Stalled Ky. tank crew eager to join battle

Pete look-alikes wanted for Opening Day parade
Soldier's suicide worsens children's plight
Flashover simulator may save firefighters
Public welcome at firefighter's services
Foster father indicted for murder

Springer avoids Iraq debate
CPS school designs unveiled
Finneytown school board favors revamp
Norwood may OK blight study of development area

A.M. Report: Kings Island adds metal detectors
Good News: Foundation gives more than $1M
Obituary: Dr. Pierce started companies, ministries

Ask us questions about Hamilton
Butler Co. may raise sales tax
Fairfield sets deadline on justice center plan
Butler Co. observes 200th birthday

Lebanon rethinks pay for reservists
Former Franklin clerk indicted

Ohio Moments: 6 Ohioans received first Medals of Honor
Lawmakers negotiate on gas tax
Dozens trying to copy Wrights

Garbage to become electricity
Sentencing today in Epling case
Hearing on rights ordinance tonight
Youths want to improve Covington
Around the Commonwealth

Lawrenceburg city hall moving