September 18, 2001 The Canadian Arab Federation unequivocally condemns the tragic and horrific terror attacks in the United States. Our condolences go out to the innocent victims and their families. This action has created havoc in civil society and we encourage and support all efforts for restoration and normalcy. Moreover, we are disturbed by the assumptions from some of the media and other organizations of Arab and Muslim responsibilities for the attacks. Such sweeping conclusions have serious implications on our community. We are alarmed at the level of incidents of harassment and racism against Arabs and Muslims on both sides of the border. We urge caution and good exercise of judgement, as we do not want a repeat of Oklahoma whereby an entire community was erroneously blamed and unfairly targeted. We call on all Arab and Muslim Canadians to exercise caution and be vigilant of any incident and to swiftly report it to the proper authority and CAF. More importantly, we encourage the community to assist and donate in any way possible to the Canadian Red Cross and other humanitarian relief organizations in aid of the victims. Backlash against the Arab and Muslim communities following the September 11, 2001 attacks:
– Five students with Arabic sounding names assaulted by classmates in Oakville.
– A 43 year old man arrested in St. Catharines and charges with uttering death threats to the Islamic information centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
– Mosques and Islamic centers have been fired on and vandalized.
– Vicious emails calling Arabs “vermin”, violent telephone messages attacks on mosques and personal threats.
– A History teacher at Norman Bethune Collegiate in Scarborough said, “some students should be ashamed of themselves” clearly referring to Arab and Muslim students in the classroom.
– Air Canada employees are asked to call the police before boarding any passengers with Arab- sounding names.
– Women and girls especially targeted if they wear hijab.
– A Muslim woman was waiting for a commuter train in downtown Toronto when another woman passed by and said: “If I had a gun, I would shoot you right now.
– Islamic Foundation of Canada’s mosque on Nugget Ave., Scarborough, has received some hate phone messages.
– Niagara Islamic School in Niagara Falls remained closed after a threat to a related mosque.
– Islamic Information Centre on Bloor St. has received telephoned death threats.
– People fearing the loss of their jobs or termination of their contracts. A man called the office saying that his job was terminated because of his “behavior” towards the attacks. The man who is an assembly line worker states that he did not talk to anyone or know about the attacks until he finished his shift and went home.
– A graduate student from York University received an email from a professor accusing her “of taking pleasure” in the events. The student is deeply concerned about effect of such comments against her and other Arab and Muslim students.
– At the same time, CAF is heartened by the flow of email and telephone messages from ordinary Canadians and politicians expressing their concern with Arab and Muslim bashing and extending their solidarity and support to the community. We are especially grateful for the telephone calls to our office from Mr. Howard Hampton the Leader of the Ontario NDP, the Honorable Paul Martin, Finance Minister, the office of Hedy Fry, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and a host of other political and community leaders from across the country.