Update: Youth Proceeds with Hate Crime Suit

March 4, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times


On March 4, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that "police have arrested two teenagers and are seeking other members of a mob suspected of beating an 18-year-old Arab American man in Yorba Linda [CA] while shouting white supremacist slogans... Rashid Alam, friends said, was pummeled Feb. 22 on a residential street by as many as 20 teens, some of whom carried bats, a golf club and beer bottles. Witnesses said the attackers -- at least one with a swastika tattoo -- stripped off their shirts and yelled 'White power!' as they descended on him and seven friends... Although police and the victim's supporters agree in calling the attack a hate crime, they offer sharply different views of what led to it. Brea police, who patrol Yorba Linda under contract, described it as an arranged showdown between rival groups... Alam's friends and family, however, call it an unprovoked attack. The recent high school graduate was left with a fractured jaw, his eyes swollen and shattered facial bones that required surgeons to place two metal plates in his cheeks... News of the assault and investigation surfaced Monday after Arab American activists and the victim's family accused authorities of trying to minimize the incident. Muslim leaders, who plan today to ask the FBI to take over the case, said they are puzzled that local police have given the incident no publicity and say they fear a new wave of hatred because of the looming war in Iraq."