STATEMENT ON ATTACKS FROM THE ISLAMIC CENTER OF THE TRIAD
In regards to the beatings of the Palestinian students at Guilford College, we do not have all the facts to make a final judgment. We do have a strong relationship with the Quakers and with Guilford College, and we share with them many similar values. There are many Muslims who have studied at Guilford College and in Greensboro in the past, and we have not experienced this kind of hatred and racism on such a scale. In general, the community of Greensboro has accepted the Middle Eastern population with a warm, receptive attitude.
We do not condone violence or aggressive behavior against anyone, no matter their race, religion or country. We have every confidence that the Guilford College Judicial system and the Greensboro City Police will investigate this incident and take appropriate steps. We must all learn from this, to help prevent hate crimes of this sort in the future.
At the same time, I would like to express our outrage at this unprecedented attack of over a dozen members of the GC football team – large, physically fit, highly trained athletes – against three young men who have spent the better parts of their lives in conditions of poverty and oppression in Palestinian refugee camps, and who are here to try to make a better life for themselves and to improve their condition.
This was not just an attack on Palestinians. To too many Americans, the words “Middle Eastern,” “Muslim” and “terrorist” are synonymous. One of the Palestinians was, in fact, Christian. If there is to be peace of any kind, these misconceptions must be addressed; and indeed, the best place to do that is in our educational institutions, amongst our young people who will lead us into a better future. The whole point of bringing foreign students to American campuses is to encourage communication and understanding between the peoples of the world.
These young Palestinians who were attacked are here as representatives of their culture and their countrymen’s hope for a better future for themselves and for all the world. As aspiring professional athletes, members of the Guilford College football team are no less representatives of our own country, and rather than assaulting their fellow students, should instead have been extending the hand of friendship and acceptance.
Badi Ali, President
Islamic Center of the Triad