Minority Groups Brace for Backlash in Case of War with Iraq

February 24, 2003

Source: Religion Writers


On February 24, 2003 Religion Writers reported that "as the possibility of war presses closer, American Muslims - and those sometimes mistaken for Muslims - say they are bracing for discrimination. Iraq is a predominately Muslim nation and the Bush administration says that Saddam Hussein may be cooperating with Islamic terrorists, giving rise to worries of scapegoating in the United States. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims increased markedly. The spike disappeared in a few months, but Muslims say they worry that, in the event of war or more terrorism, they'll be targets again... Many Arab and Muslim advocates report working cooperatively with all levels of government to prevent discrimination. At the same time, even moderates among them complain that the federal administration exacerbates prejudice with some of its anti-terrorism efforts, particularly the government’s decision to register all non-citizens by targeting men from Arab and Muslim nations. Acknowledging that the Sept. 11 terrorists were from Arab and Muslim nations, critics nevertheless fault the program for what they see as inadequate notification, a lack of due process and for failing to treat all non-citizens equally."