SAN FRANCISCO – Mohamed Elsherbini knows what it’s like to be eyed suspiciously at the airport ticket counter.

Jamal Dajani says he is sure the Patriot Act, and other initiatives providing law enforcement with greater investigative latitude, will be focused on Arab-Americans like himself.

Neema Ejaz says she is sometimes scorned by other American women who find the traditional Muslim head covering she wears distastefully subservient.

They and other Arab Americans attending the ninth annual Arab Cultural Festival in Golden Gate Park on Sunday said they often feel the sting of misunderstanding toward their heritage.

But they said the cold, shunning glances and even the outright hostility won’t prevent them from celebrating the tight-knit, fun-loving community they have helped create as Arab-Americans living in the Bay Area.

“We can’t be held hostage by the misunderstanding that continues to be focused on us,” said Dajani, president of the Arab Cultural and Community Center, which sponsored the festival”¦


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