U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Memorandum Regarding Post 9/11 Violence Against Arab-Americans

U.S. Department of Justice



Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Other Agencies and Organizations Receiving Assistance from the Department of Justice


Deborah J. Daniels, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs
Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights


Response to Violence, Threats, and Discrimination Against Arab-Americans and Other Americans of Middle Eastern and South Asian Descent


November 5, 2001

Since Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the Justice Department has received numerous reports of violence, threats of violence, and discrimination against Arab-Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern and South Asian descents. The Attorney General has made clear that any act of violence or discrimination against a person based on the perceived race, religion or national origin of that person is contrary to our fundamental principles and the laws of the United States. His statement is a reminder to all Americans that Americans of Arab or South Asian descent and people of the Muslim faith were also injured and killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. In addition, they also are—along with other Americans—involved in relief operations and other efforts to alleviate suffering. Any threats of violence or discrimination against Arab or Muslim Americans or Americans of South Asian descents are not just wrong and un-American, but also are unlawful and will be treated as such.

We encourage members of the law enforcement and corrections community, as well as our other recipients, to help ensure that violence, threats of violence, and discrimination of this type are expeditiously and effectively addressed. In addition to ensuring that these matter are addressed, we remind you that, as recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department of Justice, you are also legally obligated to ensure that your programs and services are provided to your communities in a nondiscriminatory manner. Together, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in programs receiving assistance from the Department of Justice. You are responsible for ensuring that no individual is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of your programs and services on the basis of race, color, national origin or religion. Further, agencies and organizations receiving financial assistance from the Office of Justice Programs or the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services are also prohibited from discriminating in their employment practices on these bases.

We must not descend to the level of those who perpetrated violence by targeting individuals for threats or violence based on their race, religion, and national origin. To do so would be to grant terrorists a victory they cannot—and would not—otherwise achieve. We are a great nation; we must treat one another and others in a manner consistent with that greatness. Everything we do must reaffirm and respect the dignity, heroism and sacrifice of those who have died, lest their sacrifice be in vain.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that we are all especially vigilant in protecting the rights of all members of our communities during this difficult time.

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