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Letter from Maher

Dear friends and colleagues:

I hope this email finds you well; spiritually, physically and mentally...

As some of you might have learned already, ast week , my brother Omar, a freshman at North Carolina state university engineering, was visiting his friends at Guilford college, an hour away from his campus. While my brother was hanging out with 2 of his Palestinian friends on Guilford Campus, he was attacked by a group of at least 10 football players from Guilford College. My brother was brutally beaten and assaulted for about 10 minutes with fists, feet and brass knuckles. As he was beaten, he was humiliated with racial slurrs such as "dirty Palestinian", "****** terrorist" and more.

3 guys managed to drag him to the girls' dormitory, but the guys followed him and tried to break through. Thank god, my brother made it alive. He was taken to the hospital, where it appeared that he had concussion and a broken jaw, and was not able to walk for few days.

Based on witnesses' testimonies and investigation, it appeared that this was a crime motivated merely by racism and hate.

Omar has been recovering physically. However, like you may imagine, he is still psychologically and mentally in pain, not being able to escape from the traumatizing memory of laying on the floor with several guys stepping on him, and calling him "dirty Palestinian" and "***** terrorist".

I find this action the most blatant breech of America's founding principles of freedom, respect for minorities, tolerance for diversity, and rejecting stereotypes.

I cannot escape making the association between this action, and the current American administration's foreign policy towards the Middle East, which regards the Middle East/Arab world/ Muslim world with arrogance, condescendence and disrespect.

The aggressors, In my view, are victims of the American(or western) mass media which has produced, and continues to produce distorted knowledge, demeaning stereotypes and deceiving images regarding the Arab, Muslim, and middle eastern culture, society, and religion,

What is most ironic is that my brother was attacked on racial and ethnic motives, while I was in Indonesia participating in a conference held by UNESCO on the "significance of media and communication for cultural dialogue and peace", and while my father was in Paris working on how to foster a universal Holistic approach to education for the wellbeing of children.

With Respect, Love and Peace,

Maher

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