City's Arabs fear new crackdown

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Monday, November 18, 2002 at 1:25PM :

In Reply to: United States monitoring Iraqi-Americans posted by Lilly from ? ( on Monday, November 18, 2002 at 12:59PM :

This will apply to not just the "Arabs" but to anyone else who is from Iraq originally, including Assyrians. Then, Iranians & Palestinians will be "monitored" & detained, if not already. Should we begin a countdown to concentration camps? This is disgusting!
City's Arabs fear new crackdown


The government hasn't been snooping in Hassan Fattah's E-mail or tracking the Inwood man's movements - at least not as far as he knows.

But the 32-year-old Iraqi-American is worried by news the government has started monitoring thousands of Iraqi-Americans and visiting Iraqi citizens as possible terror threats.

If American forces invade Iraq, the effort would be intensified through detentions and arrests of Iraqis or Iraqi sympathizers believed to be planning domestic attacks, The New York Times reported yesterday.

The White House refused to confirm the report, but one official told The Associated Press that "the government is taking appropriate measures with regards to any potential terrorist activity."

"It's scary. I am an American," said Fattah, a freelance writer and naturalized citizen. "I'm an American just as much as anyone else is."

Arabs fear a repeat of what happened during the Persian Gulf War, when thousands of Iraqi-Americans and their associates were questioned by law enforcement, Arab advocates said.

"It was a disaster," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, who accused government officials of leaking news of the program to answer congressional criticism that the war on terror is going soft.

"It breaks community trust ...," he said. "The suspicion, the fear, the backlash, it will make it more difficult to establish a relationship because they did it this way."

One 32-year-old Iraqi-American New Yorker, who asked not to be identified because she has family in Iraq, predicts any government surveillance will be largely fruitless.

"Honestly, I don't know anyone who sympathizes with Saddam Hussein," she said. "He runs such a vicious regime."

Originally published on November 18, 2002

-- Lilly
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