Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Show of Support for Muslim Americans at AMV Dinner

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Show of Support for Muslim Americans at AMV Dinner

Article excerpt

A National Day of Solidarity with Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians was celebrated at a lively dinner hosted Feb. 22 by the American Muslim Voice (AMV) at the Mehran Restaurant in Newark, CA.

Peace and justice activists from around the San Francisco Bay Area enjoyed a delicious dinner of South Asian dishes before the proceedings began with a recitation from the Holy Qur'an by Iftekhar Hai, director of the Interfaith Tolerance Project of the United Muslims of America.

A dozen or so guests spoke from the heart about standing in solidarity with one another and with targeted people everywhere. Some told the audience how they became part of the post-9/11 movement to support Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians. Among the activists who shared their hopes for a better future were Ben Allen, Blue Triangle Network; Cynthia Morse, Savors; Matt Vansun, Amnesty International; Tanya, Not In Our Name; Nam Nguyen, United Asians; Alicia Larco, Day Laborers; Don Sparks, Refuse and Resist; Rita Akayama, October 22nd Coalition; Cecilia Chang, Justice for New Americans; Bob Kearney, American Civil Liberty Union; and KPFA board member Riva Einteen.

Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kuchinich sent his representative to the dinner and assured the Muslim-American community that he stands by it.

In a message to the AMV, Rev. Michael Yoshii of Buena Vista United Methodist Church, who was unable to attend the dinner, said, "We are reminded that the forces which committed Japanese Americans into concentration camps during World War II are present with us today."

The Wartime Commission, which issued the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, apologized to the Japanese Americans, citing "wartime hysteria," "racial prejudice," and "lack of political leadership" as factors leading to their incarceration. Said Rev. Yoshii, "We know that since 9/11, with the 'War on Terrorism,' similar forces are at play in the detention and deportation of not only Muslim and Arab Americans, but also other South Asian and Asian American groups as well. …

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