CAIR-OH: Arab Americans Feel at Home Even After 9/11


Six years after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, Americans continue to be shaped by that horrific day.
Arab-Americans, especially, have been affected, reporting instances of job discrimination, interrogation at airports and detention by federal authorities, according to the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
But not all Arab-Americans.
Massillon area residents of Middle Eastern descent say they haven’t experienced blatant anti-Arab discrimination or prejudice, the way some have, in the years since 9/11.
“I think of 9/11 every day of my life,” said Massillon Municipal Judge Edward Elum, “but I don’t think it’s impacted Arab-Americans in Massillon.”
Elum, of Lebanese descent, said he hasn’t even had to downplay his ethnicity in the years since 9/11. . .
Julia A. Shearson, executive director of CAIR’s Cleveland chapter, said she’s not aware of any anti-Arab discrimination cases coming out of Stark County in the last six years.
But nationwide, according the CAIR, the number of reported cases has increased each year since 9/11. There was a significant spike in 2003 with the onset of the Iraq war, Shearson said.
Most of the cases reported in Ohio have to do with excessively long detentions of Arab-Americans coming back to the United States from Canada, she said.
There also have been reported cases of Muslim Arabs being denied jobs or being unable to pray at work, she said.
The issue of what CAIR calls government overreaching since 9/11 is not unique to Arab-Americans, Shearson said. “The issue is what is happening to all Americans, and the civil liberties and privacy rights of all Americans,” she said. (MORE)

 


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