Arab-Americans encourage tolerance
The events that occurred on Tuesday, September, 11, 2001,
the numerous men, women, and children who died, and the number of missing
people whose toll amounts to more than 4,000, significantly affected the
Arab community throughout the world, including here at Bowdoin.
Many of the large number of international students on the
Bowdoin campus hope to open up the minds of their fellow students, thus
making them more culturally aware and understanding.
"We share a common region but not common ideas or philosophies,"
replied Iranian-born US citizen, Fariba Shaffiey, a first-year at Bowdoin.
Upon learning about the tragedy, she felt sad and stunned that such an
act of violence could take place.
As scapegoats were exploited, Shaffiey hoped the Bowdoin
community would exercise tolerance. She emphasized that one of the most
important things for people across America to understand was that the
group of individuals who committed this crime were members of an extremist
party and not an entire religion. She also expressed wishes that although
many citizens may be feeling acute pain or anger, they should not take
these feelings out on people who were not involved in creating this tragedy.
Professor Munis D. Faraqui, an Indian self-identified Muslim
shared Shaffiey's shock and sadness over the tragedies. He emphasized
that it is inexcusable and shocking to assign blame to Muslims as a whole,
that they should not be labelled as the perpetrators of the terrorist
act. He also mentioned that 99.9% of all Arab-Americans are as stunned
as other Americans, as they realized the enormity of the act and the new
level of violence it has brought upon the world.
In Monday's student digest, there was a letter from Adam
Greene '01 who witnessed a conversation that involved a racist exchange
between students aimed at Arabs and Arab-Americans.
Mr. Greene reported remarks such as "they should be
sent home packing, along with all their kind."
One international student said, "Speaking out is what this community needs. It is sad that young people-students-who have come to college to seek knowledge and information are making that sort of ignorant remark. We must not forget that nationals from Arab countries were among the people killed at the World Trade Centre, not to mention Muslims from Pakistan and India as well."