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Also controversial was the coverage of the arrest of an Arlington Muslim who was later convicted in connection with the American Embassy bombings in Africa, and a story on Osama bin Laden accompanied by a photograph of bin Laden in front of a mosque; in both cases some felt the paper was drawing too strong a connection between violence and Islam:And last year, the Holy Land Foundation sued the newspaper for defamation, while a group called Muslims Against Defamation protested in front of the newspaper’s offices and urged Muslims to boycott it. “According to the FBI, we have more hate crimes here in North Texas than anywhere else, and we attribute that to the hostile media,” says Shakri Abu Baker, the foundation’s president. According to HLF spokeswoman Dallel Mohamed, the foundation itself suffered after one local news program flashed an image of Osama bin Laden followed by one of its Richardson office; the station later apologized, but the damage was done: Hostile phone calls and e-mails poured in. Muslim community leaders now meet every other month with Morning News representatives, which has helped ease some of the strain between the community and the newspaper, says Elmougy.”We have a very good relationship with the Dallas Morning News, which has sometimes in the past been a little too harsh,” he says.”It takes two to tango.There are a lot of misconceptions about us in the press, just like there are a lot of misconceptions in our community about the press.”The September terrorist attacks and their aftermath, however, threaten to renew old tensions. On the day of the Dallas Central Mosque open house, the Morning News reported that a Richardson immigrant had been detained for questioning; one Islamic Society board member at the open house criticized the article as “guilt by association.” The same day, a front-page headline”Soldiers of Terror Living Next Door”angered many Muslims. “I went that day to my neighbor, who I’ve known for many years, and said,`I’m living next door to you; you know I’m not a terrorist!” jokes Aziz Shihab, himself a former editor at the Morning News and the publisher of an Arab newspaper in Dallas. \(He is also the father of TO poetry editor Naomi wrote for The Dallas Morning News, The NewYork Times. I have no respect for any of them,” he says. For Shihab, the problems with post-September 11 coverage by most American media, local and otherwise, have resided less in what is said about American Muslims and more in what isn’t said about U.S. formall, Shihab and several friends had sharp words for what they’d been seeing and hearing on the news. “It’s so simplistic when you say you’re going to eliminate terrorism. A terrorist can be born in two hours,” Shihab said. “Terrorists are not born terrorists.” wakes up in the morning and says ‘I don’t like those Americans because the women wear shorts,” said Dr. Ahmad Sbaita, the Lebanese-born board chairman of the national Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “There are issues and gripes that these people and the rest of the Arab world have with this country. Whether these gripes are real or imaginary I’m not going to argue. The fact is, people act on perceived truth. Unless we recognize and decide to address these issues and gripes, then I don’t think this is the last thing that is going to happen.” Though hate crimes and foreign policy are very different subjects, the criticisms of both around the lunch table began to sound similar. In both cases, it was suggested, Arabs have been discriminated against out of ignorance and simplistic thinking; the terrorist label has been too broadly applied. 0 n my last day in the Metroplex, I visited the sisterand brother-in-law of Waqar Hasan, the man who was killed at Mom’s Grocery. Akhtar and Uzma Nadeem live in Irving. \(Uzma is the sister of Hasan’s Hasan, they told me, had come to America, like so many others, to escape the violence in his native country; his father and brother had both been kidnapped in Pakistan. “He did not know anything about politics,” Akhtar said. “He could not even spell Afghanistan. He would pray, and somebody maybe had seen him. I told him, `do not pray in public, especially after the New York incident,’ but he was saying ‘it’s my prayer, it shouldn’t bother anybody else.’ Hasan moved from New Jersey to Dallas six months ago, Akhtar said, in order to purchase a business more cheaply than he could have back east. He used the bulk of his savings to buy the store with a partner. His wife and daughters were to come join him once he had gotten settled and found them a house. “He was a quiet guy, a workaholic, fifteen hours a day. He said when the family got here he would change his schedule to be more with them, but in the meantime why not work?” A week before the murder, Hasan and his partner had bulletproof glass installed around the cash register counter, to protect them at night. “He used to close the deli at 8:00 or 9:00, because it was outside the bulletproof glass,”Akhtar said. “But if somebody came in after he closed the deli, he would come out and make food for them.” Hasan’s body was found beside the deli area. A bun and a piece of meat had been placed on the grill, and there were french fries out on the counter. With no income and four daughters, Akhtar said, Hasan’s widow “is in very bad condition, all the time crying: ‘Why did they do that? What do I do now?’ “She kept asking me, , Did you see him with your own eyes?” said Akhtar. “She said, ‘I don’t believe anybody, the detectives, the police.’ “We were actually the victims of terrorism,” Akhtar continued. “A lot of people leave Pakistan because of terrorism, to start making a living here… Now we are scared.” 9114101 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9