United States: Testimonies from “We Are Not the Enemy”
Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim After September 11
I own a motel in SeaTac, Washington. In early October, 2001, one man came up to me while I was parking my car and said “Go Back to your country. We are coming over there to kick your ass.” I explained to him that I was a Sikh who had been raised in India and then became an American citizen many years back. He did not care to listen to me and said, ‘We don’t care. You all look the same.’
The same man returned to my motel on the morning of 19th October at 7:00 am and shouted at me “You still here?!” I told him “Where else can I go? This is my country!” He got even more angry and agitated. He took out a metal cane and hit me on my head and shouted at me “Go to Allah”. I bleed profusely, was taken to the hospital and received ten stitches in my head.
On morning of June 18, 2002, I went to a drug store to pick up allergy medication… A woman who was angry that I had left one of my children in my car while I picked up the medication began berating me. She told me, “I’ve learned all about you people [Muslims] over the last 10 months and I don’t trust a single damn one of you.” I tried to move away from her but the woman slammed me to the floor and began pulling at my hijab. I screamed at her to let me go, and that I was having trouble breathing, but the woman kept pulling on my hijab. In a panic, I pulled off my hijab in order to stop from choking. The woman then dragged me by my hair to the front of the store. The woman did not let me go until police arrived. My young children witnessed this sad event.
-Karnail Singh, Sikh American man from SeaTac, Washington
-FK, an American Muslim woman from Houston, Texas (name changed at victim’s request)
Who ever was responsible for the damage [to the mosque] went to the third floor and broke a pipe in the bathroom and jammed the sink with a towel so it would overflow. The water from the third floor had seeped through the ceiling into the second floor where the main prayer hall was. Water from the third floor brought plaster tiles from the ceiling above down on the pile. The water went all the way down to the basement. I could not take stairs to the second floor without making a path and scattering the debris. Water seeped through into the basement and the ceiling tiles had fallen to the floor. When I walked in it was a downpour.
The vandals tore posters off the wall and tore frames enclosing religious verses off the wall in a classroom on the third floor. About one hundred copies of the Quran were scattered on the floor throughout the building. Some were damaged, but not all. The chandelier in the main prayer hall was destroyed, the pulpit was flipped over; the amplifier and speakers were thrown down to the ground level, and so were prayer
rugs. They cut all the speaker wires, even the wires to speakers mounted high on the wall. They pulled down drapes and curtains. Flower vases made of metal were knocked to the floor. Filing cabinets containing Sunday school records on the ground level were opened and flipped over. Other damaged items made a big pile of debris. Two estimates were made on the damage and both were around $379,000.
-Siraj Haji, a member of the Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, vandalized on December 29, 2001