Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|"diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around"|
|09/21/01 at 13:44:01|
U.S. Congressman Encourages Discrimination Against Muslims and Others
WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (IslamOnline) - Congressional Representative John Cooksey (R-LA) encouraged already heated feelings of discrimination and hatred when he asserted that "someone who comes in that's got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around that diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over," on Louisiana radio stations Monday.
Cooksey's remarks are particularly shocking in light of the ongoing national backlash against Muslim Americans as a result of last week's terrorist attack in New York and the Washington, DC area, stated a press release issued by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).
In an attempt to excuse his statement, Cooksey's spokesman, Bob Anderson, told the Washington Post he was merely stating that airline passengers who wear turbans should be singled out and questioned.
"These remarks have further made American Muslims and Arab-Americans a target for harassment. Already there have been numerous incidents of assault and even two deaths related to the current climate against American Muslims and Arab Americans.
"To have a congressman say that a person should be questioned because he or she is of a different culture is abhorrent and irresponsible," reads a statement by the American Muslim Council.
Since the attacks in New York and Washington last week, at least three people have died in violence related to a backlash intended to target Muslims, with hundreds more wounded and harassed.
One individual killed as a result of the anti-Muslim sentiment was a Coptic Egyptian (Egyptian Christian); the other was an Indian Sikh.
U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered the FBI to prosecute any attacks on Muslims, Arabs and their holy places, businesses, homes etc.
In the days since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Muslims, Arabs and other minorities have been targeted by those who consider them responsible for the attacks.
"Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed," said President Bush, during a visit to the Islamic Center of Washington D.C. earlier this week.
FBI director Robert Mueller has also sternly denounced such wrongdoing, saying, "I want to make it very clear: vigilante attacks and threats against Arab-Americans will not be tolerated."
Mueller said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had initiated 40 investigations into reported attacks on Arab-American citizens and institutions since September 11th.
Following the attacks, which Bush and other top officials have pinned on Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported more than 350 incidents of harassment, hate crimes and other attacks against Muslims and Arabs in America.
American Muslims and Arabs have been called upon by anti-discrimination and civil rights organizations to express their dismay towards the congressman by contacting his office:
Representative John Cooksey:
With additional reporting by Neveen A. Salem
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