>Our task, at least in part, is to assist one another in the construction of
>reason which, we may hope, will lead to reasonable action. These are
>difficult times for people who take up that task.
>The vile terrorist attack in New York and Washington DC has fomented a
>hysterical response, a tide of irrationalism, in part rooted in racism.
>Attacks on mosques and people who appear to attackers to be of Middle
>Eastern descent, whatever that appearance may actually be, continue to rise.
>The New York Times (September 19) has a headline: "Victims of Mistaken
>Identity, Sikhs Pay a
> Price for Turbans," noting that a Sikh has been murdered. This follows:
>"I'm a patriot," the suspect, Frank S. Roque, said as he was arrested.
>"I'm a damn American all the way."
>The Times does not really get to the idea that it is not turbans on Sikhs,
>but racism, that killed the Sikh gas station owner. This is the third such
>murder in the Southwest in four days.
>Then, the Times (B3) quotes a security expert in an article about airports:
>"Ethnicity is the single most important determinant of who is going to
>cause a problem on an airliner...if you are going to give the same
>attention because it is mandated to a little old lady with blue hair or to
>a young African American male for that matter, as you would give to a
>Middle Easterner, you are undermining the system already"
>These words connected with power are now part of acceptable, respectable,
>discourse, and there is a not so jagged line from those words to the "damn
>American" noted above. Perhaps it is correct, within the logic of the
>security expert, that to oppose racism undermines an entire system. Perhaps
>Reason and racism have only opposition in common.
>The Moslem people of the US, of whatever race may be assigned, have been
>under severe strain, at least, since the horror of September 11. Mosques
>have been attacked. Individuals have been threatened, hurt, and killed.
>While it is our job to oppose all forms of racism every day; the sharpest
>form of racism is directed at people who are seen as Moslem people now.
>Over time, it is reasonable to suspect that black people and all poor
>people will pay a terrible price for what appears to be on the horizon. But
>today, the sharpest forms of racism and racist practices are aimed at
>people who others see as Moslem, Arabic, Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian-a bizarre
>mix which would have to be defined in the mind of its author.
>I do not feel I can be a part of this community and allow this to continue
>without my indicating, mind and body, that reason must prevail over racism.
>So, I have asked the Islamic Center of San Diego for permission to come
>stand an evening vigil on Friday night, September 21, from dusk at 7:00
>p.m. to midnight, as a vigiliant witness against racism. I intend to hold a
>sign: "Reason Not Racism."
>The reason to do this is simple: Anti-racist solidarity. Research
>demonstrates that when people step forward and oppose racism, that action
>provides a powerful counterbalance.
>The mosque is at Islamic Center of San Diego is in the Claremont area at
>North on I-805
>Take the CA-274/Balboa Avenue exit
>Take Balboa ave going west
>Take the first left which is Hathaway
>Take a left onto Eckstrom
>I hope you will choose to join me. Perhaps we can make some plans for the
>If you would forward this message to people of good will in the community,
>that would help.
>All the best,
>San Diego State University
>College of Education