Congressman David E. Bonior Condemns Bigotry Against Americans Of South Asian Descent And Sikhs

Category: Americas, Nature & Science Views: 3854


September 21, 2001

As America mourns its dead and prepares to launch a global war on terrorism, some Americans are facing additional, ugly threats here on the home front.  Not from foreign terrorists, but from fellow citizens.

Since the attacks on New York and Washington last week, many Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, Sikhs and other Americans of South Asian heritage have become the targets of terrible bigotry and violence - based solely on their faith, their heritage, or their choice of traditional clothing.

Americans of just about every religion and ethnic heritage lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks. At least five Sikh Americans were killed in the World Trade Center, and one - a convenience store owner named Balbir Singh Sodhi - was shot dead last week in Phoenix by an angry gunman calling himself a "patriot." Other Sikhs are facing harassment and humiliation at our airports.  Every American should deplore this backlash.  It is morally repugnant and un-American.

Sadly, Indian and Pakistani Americans died in the attacks, too, and have become targets of retaliation in the aftermath.  In Dallas, a Pakistani Muslim grocer named Waqar Hassan was shot dead in a hate crime on Saturday.  In New Jersey, businesses owned by Indian Americans have been spray-painted with crude epithets, warning them to "leave town."  Such intimidation is reminiscent of the KKK, or of Nazi Germany.  It has no place in modern America, and all of us must stand with our neighbors in the face of such ignorance and hatred.

Mosques and temples have been vandalized, business owners shot and killed, schoolchildren taunted, and women attacked with stones and knives. Even here in this House, a colleague referred to the head-covering that some Sikhs or Muslims wear out of respect for God as a "diaper."  His spokesman went on to say that all turban-wearing airline passengers should be taken aside and questioned. 

This bigotry is despicable. It runs directly against the very ideals that make America great - equality, tolerance, diversity and democracy.  We are a nation built by immigrants, a nation that is stronger - not weaker - for the many people and cultures who proudly call it home. And we must stand united, as one people, in this time of crisis.

America will prevail against terrorism.  And we will prevail not just through the strength and courage of our military, but through the enduring strength of our most cherished principles. Only if we stand by our ideals - and our neighbors - will we successfully defend the nation we love.

  Category: Americas, Nature & Science
Views: 3854
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Older Comments:
I have been under ATTACKS from the Department of Human Service workers from another State. Names are Brian T.Conboy,social worker and Pan Tanessess social worker. These two people have made attacks upon my family members and Brian T.Conboy have made public to others that we are FBI people to the Muslim community in Phila,Pa. and to non-muslims as well on Oct 29th,2001. My sister is with child and this man have terroried her.

FRANK said:
Bonior for president.

I'm a Mexican Catholic, and one thing about US people that I have never understood, is why they hate immigrants (or whomever is not the US physical prototype), if all but a very small portion of the US population are immigrant.

I can't relate to the feelings of somebody that can cry about a kid in the other side of the world dying of hunger, and that can't lend a helping hand to its own neighbor.

Understanding differences, accepting our humanity, it is the only way.

Congressman Bonior, Please accept my sincerest appreciation for all your efforts in upholding and safeguarding the founding principals of our nation. I wish you success in all your efforts and pray that the entire nation benefit from your integrity, wisdom and experience.

Love, peace and understanding.....
As being a young lady(i am 14 years old) under the influence of islamic beleifs and of being adolecscent(in high school) I have realized that Ignorance thrives in America......people looking at muslims as terrorists are so little minded and disrepsectful, a muslim school in my ummah (community) has had a bomb threat and our children cant goto school now.this makes no sense....all we can do is pray.........
love, peace and understanding

I am a Palistinian American, and although I am not Muslim (I am Christian) I have felt a great amount of concern regarding my safety due to the horrible events that took place. I want to personally thank you for your supportive statement. It is people such as yourself that truly understand what makes America the greatest country on earth. It is also people like you that will continue to contribute to the qualities that distinguish America from all other nations. I am personally very saddened and angered by what happened in NY and D.C. Although I was born in the US, my parents who were born in the Middle East are equally disgusted by these acts of terror. Americans need to know that we all stand together in this battle for our home. The people that are using these tragedies to voice their bigotry and hatered are no less disgusting than the terrorists that killed those innocent people. It is that very same mindest that is causing death and division throughout the world. Who of us picks our ethnic background when we are born? I believe God created us all equally and we must learn to appreciate the differences that make us so unique. My wife (who is African-American) and I love this country passionately. We stand together as unique couple being that I am Arab-American and she is African-American to show the world around us that change can occur. I give Christ the credit for the lack of prejudice in my heart. I hope others can also look beyond their own interests and overcome the hatred and bigotry that is so prevalent in the Middle East, the United States and the rest of the world. Thank you once again for your most encouraging statement. God Bless

I propose that at least the Arab community align itself with the NAACP, or at least look into it.