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Lumping Groups Together With Labels Is the Wrong Approach

March 16, 2003

Re "Yorba Linda Beating Is a Hate Crime, Police Say," March 4:

Officers are probing an assault on an Arab American teenager that took place Feb. 22. Pictures of the victim show he was badly beaten and suffered facial damage. Police believe two groups had been having problems with each other for quite some time and had several former altercations, none of which had evidence of any racial epithets. However, this time the Arab youths are saying it was racial and a hate crime. They want the FBI to take over the case, and are irritated the crime was not publicized earlier.

What disturbs me is the following quote from the article: "We believe this recent increase in attacks on American Muslims is a direct result of the barrage of pro-war and anti-Islam rhetoric coming from right-wing and evangelical leaders," said Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

I consider this unsubstantiated remark offensive. As a Christian and someone I'm sure Hussam Ayloush would consider right-wing, I can say that I have never heard a single Christian leader say anything that would cause people to "beat up" anyone. In fact, it is Ayloush's remarks that could incite Muslims and cause them to think Christians are a danger.

Such rhetoric stirs up ill feelings between Christians and Muslims, something that should be avoided, not encouraged.

Anna Krone

Anaheim

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Re "Secular Muslim Finds Much to Fear," Feb. 9:

Moramed A. Najmi sounds great in his article. But, be fair, there are two sides. We hear over and over that Muslims feel that every Jew and every American are evil -- and even that they should be killed. Maybe all Muslims do not feel that way, but not all Americans are treating Muslims badly either. We have not called Muslims "the Great Satan," but that is what they have called us.

No one seems to be able to do anything that pleases the American Muslims since Sept. 11. If you look their way, you are looking at them "funny." If you avoid looking their way, you are "avoiding" them. We are walking on eggs and being blamed for treating them unfairly. It is time to name names and define incidents. Stop lumping us as a group and labeling us the bad guys.

Mary K. Falls

Huntington Beach

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