Guide to Preventing Hate Crimes and Reporting Harassment; 11/6/09

To plan and coordinate a response to potential hate crimes and incidents that may result from the Ft. Hood attack which occurred on Thursday, November 5, 2009, ING President Maha Elgenaidi joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Incident Community Coordination Team (ICCT) conference call today between federal agencies–that included the Dept of Defense, FBI, Dept of Justice and Dept of Homeland Security–and national Muslim, Arab, and South Asian groups. On the call, Maha expressed concerns for the immediate and human impact of this tragedy on innocent Arabs and Muslims who may be associated with the perpetrator’s ethnicity and religious identity irrespective of his motivations, which are still unclear. Several agencies said they would release guidelines for ensuring the safety and security of Muslim and Arab populations, which are forthcoming.

In the meantime, ING has released to our database of school teachers and administrators the following guidelines and programs that remind school staff of Zero Tolerance Policies for Hate in Schools:

School Program to Prevent Hate Crimes and Harassment

Also reference the following guidelines and tips to ensure your safety and security which ING has developed for the following groups of people.

• Women in hijab
• Parents of Muslim or Arab students in schools
• Muslim or Arab employees at work

Guidelines & tips to ensure your safety and security in a time of crisis:

Women in hijab:
Women in hijab should be extra careful about their personal safety during this time of crisis. We suggest adhering to the following guidelines:

1. Be extra alert and aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions in public places.

2. Try to limit your outings to areas where security is an issue even in normal times.

3. If going out at night or in areas where safety is an issue, make sure that you are accompanied by others.

4. Wear clothing that is less likely to stand out and attract attention. Pay attention to the colors of your clothing in consideration of media representations of Muslim women, which generally portray them in dark colors, particularly black.

5. If people try to engage or provoke you do not respond.

6. Report any harassment or suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Parents of Muslim or Arab students in schools:

1. If your children are old enough to understand, inform them very briefly about what has occurred.

2. Instruct them to report any harassment or teasing to you or their teacher.

3. Assure your children that they have the right to security at school and that they should share any incidences with you and their teachers.

4. At the end of the school day discuss any events that happened that day. If anything serious occurred, report it to the teacher or principal.

5. Inform your children of their rights as students which include the following:

• A safe learning environment
• Balanced curriculum
• Freedom of religious practice
• Freedom of speech
• Freedom from harassment
• A positive atmosphere for learning — one that is unbiased, non-judgmental, and free from prejudice, discrimination, verbal or physical threats and abuse.
• School rules will be enforced in a consistent, fair and reasonable manner.
• Assistance with educational concerns from the school staff
• Fair discipline without discrimination.

6.Parents have the following rights:

• Have their concerns heard and addressed.
• Request and be granted meetings with teachers, counselors and/or the principal.

Cooperation between the school and parents is essential for the academic and general progress of students. Parents are encouraged to become acquainted with the school staff by participating in such school-related activities as school events, open houses, and extra-curricular activities as well as volunteering in their children’s classroom. By establishing close contact, parents, administrators and teachers can work together to prevent problems and promote student success.

Muslim or Arab Employees at Work:

1. Report any harassment to the proper venues whether to your manager or Human Resources department.

2. Do not respond directly to harassment in words or actions except in a peaceful, dignified manner.

3. If you are temporarily unable to continue your work, ask for a break or vacation.

4. Your behavior is a model for others; ensure that you are exemplifying appropriate behavior in the prophetic model.

5. For more on religious discrimination on the job, visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

ING is an educational outreach organization that promotes interreligious understanding and mutual respect through dialogue and education.