U.S. Elected Officials and Government Agencies Make Satements in Response to Backlash

September 17, 2001

Source: CNN

In a September 17, 2001 Justice Department briefing, FBI Director Robert Mueller said, "...I want to talk briefly about another area of the FBI's responsibilities, and that relates to civil rights. Since the horrific attacks on September 11, dozens of retaliatory hate crimes have been directed at members of the Arab-American community, including assaults, arson, threatening communications and two possibly -- and I say "possibly" -- ethnically motivated murders. Many of these criminal acts have been directed at Muslim houses of worship and at Muslim community centers. I want to make it very clear: Vigilante attacks and threats against Arab-Americans will not be tolerated. We are all saddened by the recent acts of terrorism against our nation. Such acts of retaliation violate federal law and, more particularly, run counter to the very principles of equality and freedom upon which our nation is founded. The FBI and the Department of Justice are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting violations of the federal hate crime laws. We, to date, have initiated 40 hate crimes investigations, involving reported attacks on Arab American citizens and institutions. And we are working with the Department of Justice to review other incidents to see if federal violations have taken place. I might also add that the FBI is reaching out to leaders of the Arab American community in each of our 56 field offices across the country."