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5 items: Badi Ali on racism, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Moran D-Virginia, Kaukab Siddique: Eid Khutba on war on Islam

GREENSBORO - Muslims for a Better North Carolina Wednesday renewed their call for the resignation of U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, D-N.C.

Last week, on WKZL-FM radio, Coble said he agreed with President Franklin Roosevelts decision to intern thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. Coble said Roosevelt interned the group for their own protection and because some wanted to do harm to the United States, just as, he said, some Arab Americans want to do harm to the country today.

Coble released a statement Monday, saying he regretted that some Asian and Arab Americans found his choice of words offensive, but Badi Ali, president of Muslims for a Better North Carolina, said Wednesday that the statement was hardly an apology for Cobles racist statements.

Yesterday it was African Americans, today its Arab Americans, Ali said. Who will it be next? Mexicans?

Ali said at least one member of the Muslim community in Greensboro has been rebuffed by Coble, chairman of the U.S. House Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security subcommittee.

The woman, who did not want to be named, went to Cobles office in Greensboro, asking for assistance in bringing her mother to the U.S. from a Middle Eastern country to help her with the upcoming birth of her child. Cobles spokeswoman refused to help, Ali said.

She told her to go home, back to the Middle East, to have her baby, Ali said. This woman is an American citizen, and she told her to leave this country to have her baby. That is unacceptable.

American citizens are American citizens, no matter what their ethnic background or religious beliefs, Ali said. We cannot sit back and let our congressmen create racial barriers and mistrust grow in this country.

2003-02-14 Fri 05:19ct