FBI Says War With Iraq
Could Lead to Hate Crimes
Wednesday, 12 March 2003
- The FBI warned U.S. law enforcement officials on Wednesday that hate crimes against Arab-Americans could increase if the United States goes to war with Iraq
or if there is another terror attack on America.
The bureau, in its weekly intelligence bulletin sent to law enforcement officials across the country, noted the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airline attacks on the United States sparked an increase in hate crimes against Arab- and Muslim-Americans as well as Americans of Indian, Sikh and other ethnicities.
"War with Iraq or a terrorist incident is likely to precipitate a similar increase in hate crimes against Arab-Americans," the bulletin said.
Hate crimes in the past have included murders, attempted murders and assaults and arson attacks against mosques, Islamic centers and Arab-American-owned businesses.
Between Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 14, 2003, the FBI initiated 414 hate crime investigations involving those targets, resulting in more than 140 federal and local prosecutions. The vast majority of the hate crimes in 2001 happened in the three weeks after the Sept. 11 attack.
The FBI said it had no information that past attacks and threats against Arab-Americans were the result of a broad-based conspiracy, adding they appeared to be isolated acts.
It urged law enforcement agencies to consider the option of an ethnically motivated action if they discovered unexplained crimes against people who appeared to be of Arab descent.