“Are you Yaser Tabbara?” the man on the other end of the phone wanted to
Tabbara, the executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, barely eked out a “yes,” before the unnamed man
“I want to ask you,” he demanded, “why are you Muslims killing us?
“Why are you bombing us?” he went on, never pausing for a reply. “Why are
“I finally asked him,” Tabbara recalled about a week after the phone call,
“Sir, are you going to let me respond?”
The answer was quick:
Then, a dial tone.
The exchange didn’t come as a shock for Tabbara, who says his office
receives dozens of pieces of hate mail each week.
Particularly at times of war, it isn’t unusual for different religions to
clash, both on the battlefield and back home. But people of many religious
faiths say today’s tension isn’t limited to the differences between Muslims