The ACLU of Southern California joins the Council on American-Islamic Relations in calling for a full FBI investigation of the heinous attack on Rashid Alam, an 18 year old Arab-American from Yorba Linda beaten by a mob who shouted anti-Arab and anti-Muslim epithets.

The Administration has repeatedly expressed its condemnation of hate crimes, and the Justice Department has repeatedly said it will aggressively enforce federal laws against hate crimes. Our government must keep its promises. We call on the FBI to live up to its responsibilities to the Muslim, Arab-American, South Asian and Sikh communities and, ultimately, to each one of us.

In the first few months after 9/11, in L.A. County alone, there were more than 180 reports of hate crimes against people who were, or were perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern. We must send a clear message that these acts will not be tolerated. Prejudice against Arab-Americans, Muslims and South Asians undermines one of the cornerstones of our American democracy -- the fundamental principle of equality of all peoples.

Southern California is one of the most diverse regions in this nation. Truly, our strength lies in our diversity. When one of us is attacked, it is an attack on us all.

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