Do you believe that a "post-September 11 backlash" has resulted in a nationwide wave of violence and bigotry against Muslims in America? The hype artists and book-cookers at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) want you to think so. The group's new report purports to document "a massive increase" of hate crimes targeting Arab-Americans.
But in order to concoct a Muslim hate crime epidemic, the ADC report lumps together faulty citations, dubious anecdotes and grossly overinflated claims.
As an example of a typical post-September 11 campus hate crime, the ADC report highlights an alleged incident in Tempe, Ariz., where "a Muslim student was pelted with eggs at Arizona State University." Where did the information about the incident come from? The ADC refers to a student op-ed piece in the Sept. 17, 2001, edition of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, which attributes the egg-pelting incident to a "National Public Radio report."
What the ADC is not telling you: Of two egg-pelting incidents involving ASU students logged by campus police, one was a complete hoax and the other was a non-racial, non-religious juvenile prank.
As I reported in a column back in October 2001, ASU student Ahmad Saad Nasim lied to cops about being assaulted and pelted with eggs in a parking lot while assailants screamed "Die, Muslim, die!" Nasim confessed to fabricating the attack when cops interviewed him after he attempted a second hate crime hoax -- in which he locked himself in a library restroom with the word "Die" written on his forehead, a plastic bag tied over his head and a racist note stuffed in his mouth.
Bill Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, told me last week that Nasim recently pled guilty to two counts of providing false information to police. His punishment? A measly one year's probation, 50 hours of community service and an order to seek psychological counseling.
The other egg-pelting incident at ASU involved two 18-year-olds and two juveniles who threw an egg at an unidentified, 31-year-old ASU student. ASU spokeswoman Nancy Neff told me it was never classified as a hate crime by police. No racial or ethnic slurs were allegedly uttered, according to a police account. "It was a bunch of guys on a joy ride," Neff said.