Increasing Intolerance in US

September 14, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On September 14, 2001, The New York Times reported on the increasing harassment and attacks against Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs, and others. "From Texas to Chicago to Long Island, there have been reports of arson, personal attacks and the police stopping men in Middle Eastern-style head coverings. The incidents are increasing despite many interfaith prayer services and calls from President Bush and other officials for the public not to single out anyone because of religion, race or ethnic origin." Across the country, reports continue to stream in: firebombings at a mosque in Texas and a Sikh gurdwara in Ohio; hate crimes in New York, California, and elsewhere. In Bridgeview, Illinois, an angry crowd marched on a mosque. "Rafeeq Jaber, a board member of the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, said the marchers appeared to be 'rallying against foreign nationals,' not realizing many members of the mosque had been American citizens since before many of the marchers were born." The article also quoted Sher Singh, one of three Sikh men taken off a train in Rhode Island at gunpoint under suspicion of terrorism. "'I didn't anticipate that as a country we would become blind and just look at somebody suspiciously who looks or dresses in a certain way,' Mr. Singh said." The article also noted an increase in interfaith services throughout the U.S., intended "to emphasize spiritual common ground within religiously pluralistic America."