Federal authorities said they had identified more than a dozen hijackers of Middle Eastern descent in Tuesday's terror attacks in New York and Washington and have gathered evidence linking them to Saudi-born terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and other extremist networks.
Ziad Asali, president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, expressed concern about both the bias incidents and Tuesday's terror attacks. "Arab Americans, in addition to feeling the intense depths of pain and anger at this attack we share with all our fellow citizens, are feeling deep anxiety about becoming the targets of anger from other Americans," he said. "We appeal to all Americans to bear in mind that crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them, not ethnic or religious groups."
In a show of patriotism, 45 people from the Islamic community in Tampa, Fla., registered with blood services to donate Wednesday, and 30 members of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Florida signed up. "You feel the pain twice: once because of what has happened and once because of the looks you get," said Sami Al-Arian, an engineering teacher at the University of South Florida.
In Dearborn, Mich., Issam Koussan said he bought large U.S. flags to fly in front of his home and outside his supermarket after men pulled into his parking lot and yelled threats and racial slurs at his customers. "I just feel I needed to show my loyalty to this country," Koussan told The Detroit News.
Early Thursday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown against the side of the Islamic Society of Denton, Texas, causing an estimated $2,500 in damage, said Kiersten Dieterle, a spokeswoman for the Dallas suburb. The building was empty and there were no injuries.
In Chicago, a firebomb was tossed Wednesday at an Arab-American community center. No injuries were reported. In nearby Palos Heights, a man who used the blunt end of a machete to attack a Moroccan gas station attendant was charged with a hate crime, police said. The attendant did not seek treatment. "The terrorists who committed these horrible acts would like nothing better than to see us tear at the fiber of our democracy and to trample on the rights of other Americans," Illinois Gov. George Ryan said.
In Huntington, N.Y., a 75-year-old man who was drunk tried to run over a Pakistani woman in the parking lot of a shopping mall, police said. The man then followed the woman into a store and threatened to kill her for "destroying my country," authorities said.
A man in a ski mask in Gary, Ind., fired an assault rifle at a gas station where a Yemen-born U.S. citizen born was working Wednesday, the Post Tribune of Merrillville, Ind., reported. Police were investigating it as a hate crime.
In Tulsa, Okla., police said a Pakistani native was beaten by three men late Tuesday in a hate crime. The victim was in a fair condition at a hospital Thursday.
Tamara Alfson, an American working at the Kuwait Embassy in Washington, spent Wednesday counseling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the United States.
"Some of them have already been harassed. People have been quite awful to them," said Alfson, an academic adviser to about 150 students.