Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes - Advice for Arab-American, Muslim and South Asian Families
Arab-American and Islamic families should strive to continue daily routines as much as normal. Citizens and residents of the United States have a right to exercise their faith, live according to their cultural traditions, and wear religiously-distinctive clothing. As a practical matter, if you feel the need, you should do things that make you feel safer, like changing your routes and traveling in numbers. Pro-actively, you can become an educator about your religion and culture to schools, community groups, and colleges.
The leaders of the United States and Governor Swift have made strong statements cautioning against anti-Arab or anti-Muslim violence. Know that hate crimes are un-American, and the criminal justice system is obligated and bound to punish them. Report any hate-motivated activity, whether violence, threats, harassment, property damage, to your local police. Make a point of describing "bias indicator" evidence to police, so they know to investigate and charge the matter as a hate crime. Challenge your friends and neighbors to stand against anti-Arab and anti-Islamic hate crimes.
You should discuss the events of September 11, 2001 with your children, and tell them about prejudice and discrimination. Go to www.stopthehate.org for more resources and information about hate crimes.
Suggestions for Parents
Check into your child's school policies on harassment and bullying
Ask your school to explain its response plan for racially motivated bullying or harassment
Join or help found a Parents' Task Force on school safety
With smaller children, explain the concepts of bullying and teasing
Be very honest and answer all your teenager/child's questions
Warn children of potential harassment
Develop a plan of action to get to your child to safety if attacked, and encourage your child to report any incident to a teacher, administrator, or safety officer