LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California announced today that, as a result of reports of harassment and threats against Arab Americans throughout the nation, it has set up a dedicated hotline for discrimination complaints.

"The American Civil Liberties Union has a long history of fighting discrimination," said Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California. "Unfortunately, during times of crisis, there are some people who will target others with threats, harassment, and discrimination, so it's critical that we take action. That is why we're setting up this hotline."

The hotline number is 213/977-5291. Those who call the hotline between 9:00am and 6:00pm will be interviewed by a trained legal assistant. Those who call outside of business hours will be contacted later.

The ACLU is particularly interested in hearing any examples of racial profiling, discrimination in public places such as hotels or restaurants, and discrimination by government agents such as school officials, city or county employees, or other government employees.

"Our hotlines are a tremendously effective way for communities to report wrong- doing," said Ripston.