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2001-09-18

A Wave of Hate Crimes Against Arab and Asian Americans Seeps the Nation: An Interview Withadam Singh, Whose Cousin Was Murdered, and 3 South Asian Women Activists

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In Mesa, Ariz., Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh, was shot and killed outside his gas station Saturday "for no otherapparent reason than that he was dark-skinned and wore a turban," Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said.

His alleged attacker, Frank Silva Roque, 42, was charged Monday with first-degree murder. He was quoted as saying ina police report, "I’m an American. Arrest me. Let those terrorists run wild."

Yesterday alone, a bomb exploded at the Islamic Center of San Diego, incendiary devices were thrown on the roof atthe Nation of Islam mosque in Austin, Texas. A man drove his car through the front entrance of Ohio’s largest mosque.

At least three other mosques in North Texas have been vandalized since Tuesday’s terror attacks. Vandals have alsoleft their mark on a mosque in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Muslims who arrived for prayer yesterday found the phonewires cut and graffiti saying "You will all die."

The New York-based United Sikhs in Service of America lists some 196 backlash hate crimes on its web site as ofTuesday morning.

Dennis Bernstein of KPFA’s "Flashpoints" interviewed Balbir Singh Sodhi’s cousin shortly after the attack.

Tape:

  • Adam Singh, cousin of Balbir Singh Sodhi interviewed by Dennis Bernstein.

Over 2,000 New Yorkers gathered on Sunday evening to mourn and pray for peace in the heart of the Arab Americancommunity of Brooklyn. Muslim Jewish and Christian religious leaders led New Yorkers in a prayer ceremony as theylooked across the river to what remains of the World Trade Center. Today we have with us several of those who spokeat the ceremony, three women who are urging for the end of attacks on Arab American communities around the country,and urging the US not to move to war.

Guests:

  • Purvi Shah, SAKHI for South Asian Women, (SAKHI).
  • Fahima Danishgar, SAKHI for South Asian Women, (SAKHI).
  • Sunita Mehta, SAKHI and Women for Afghan Women.

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