Bush Responds to Reports of Hate Crimes
The American government on Monday stepped in to counter rising incidents of verbal and physical assaults against Muslims, Arab-Americans and other minorities within the United States after last week's hijack attacks. President Bush was due to meet with Islamic leaders and area Muslims on Monday to try to put an end to anti-Muslim sentiment, reports Reuters. One of several incidents has occurred in Ohio, where a 29-year-old man smashed his car through the entrance of a mosque early on Monday, police said. "The president feels very strongly the importance of all leaders across America sending a message that as Americans, Muslim-Americans love their flag too," spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said on Monday that it had directed its national hotline to solicit discrimination complaints from Muslims and Arabs (800-552-6843), and to host forums on tolerance throughout the country. "As the search for those merciless individuals who perpetrated the horrendous acts continues, we must be mindful that we as a nation do not unfairly single out any religious or ethnic communities," said commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry. Fleischer said Bush was "very concerned about any violence that would take place to anybody as a result of ethnicity or background," and had privately urged lawmakers to remind people to avoid targeting Muslim-Americans and Arab-Americans.
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