Local Muslims And Hate Crimes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/21/03

Local Muslims And Hate Crimes

   They come from all walks of life, from many different countries, united by one thing, Islam. But some Muslims of Middle Eastern decent told me they've been threatened and harassed since the situation in Iraq began. Anwar Khalifa spoke for them.

   "There are those who are afraid because they have been assaulted verbally or physically and no one wants to be blamed for something they did not have a part in," Anwar said.

   "The Muslims here today told me they stand for peace and do not agree with Sadam Hussien. In fact, they told me they are thankful to be in this country and to be free.

  "I've grown up here so I feel I am American. There is no other country I'd be in and it's the best country to be in," Anwar said.

   To ensure their freedom is upheld, Tyler police and the FBI told will protect them if anyone ever performs a hate crime on them or their place of worship.

   "We're here to help you," said Special Resident Agent Peter Galbraith. "Our charge is to make sure violations are taken care of and we want open communication."

   Hate crimes towards Muslims have happened since September 11th.

   "We had a few incidents out of ignorance. A few people took it upon themselves and targeted individuals. We won't tolerate that," said Agent Galbraith.

   "We all came to this country, it may have been a few generations ago, but we all came here for some of the same reasons they are here and we need to be accepting of that."

   Because acceptance is the path to peace.

   Michelle Mortensen, reporting.

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