*EPF107 09/17/01
House Condemns Bigotry Against Arab-Americans
(Sponsor cites "misguided anger" after terrorist attacks) (330)
By Ralph Dannheisser
Washington File Congressional Correspondent

Washington - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, Muslims and Americans of South Asian descent, apparently spurred by the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The measure was co-sponsored by House Majority (Republican) Leader Richard Armey, House Minority (Democratic) Leader Richard Gephardt, and more than 100 other members of Congress.

It was approved by unanimous consent of the body well after midnight Washington time on September 15, as the House wrapped up a session at which it also had approved a pair of measures authorizing use of military force in an all-out fight on terrorism and funding recovery and counter-terrorism efforts.

Representative David Bonior (Democrat, Michigan), a main sponsor of the measure, said it was passed in response to a number of acts of violence, threats and intimidation directed against Americans who happen to share ethnicity or appearance with those suspected of being the terrorists.

"The magnitude of this moment calls on us to pull together," Bonior said. While divisiveness is a key goal of terrorists, he said, "We must not let this happen. We cannot allow our anger to drive us to bigotry or intolerance. Americans of all faiths - Christians, Muslims and Jews - denounce these terrorist acts."

Bonior added, "All Americans benefit from the talents, patriotism and hard work of Arab-Americans, Muslim Americans and Americans of South Asian descent. These communities - with their value on family, education and hard work - contribute a great deal to our culture.

"Unfortunately, in times of crisis, they bear the brunt of so much misguided anger. Americans must stick together, and never succumb to bigotry, intolerance and stereotyping," he said.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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