HARASSMENT OF INNOCENT HAS NO PLACE IN SOCIETY

September 25, 2001 11:00 pm

Eastern Oregon University President Phil Creighton is to be commended for his zero-tolerance policy on harassment of international students.

Creighton has made it clear since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that the university will not tolerate any harassment, segregation or threats aimed at international students or those with different religious beliefs, according to Tim Seydel, the universitys spokesman.

Thankfully,

La Grande police are saying there have been no reports of racial or religious harassment in our area.

Thats not the case in the Portland area, where a Pakistani man told police last week that he had his car tires slashed while shopping at the Gateway Target store. The victim thought the attack was racially motivated because of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Near Vancouver, Wash., a Muslim family reported to the sheriffs department that the word murder had been spray-painted on their driveway. And in Tacoma, an arson attempt at the citys only synagogue this past weekend resulted in minor damage.

Its important that people keep a clear head about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A certain group of fanatics with some apparent background in the Islam religion appears to have been responsible for the terrorism that brought horrible destruction to America.

The United States must focus its intelligence-gathering and military efforts on discovering who these people are, arresting them, closing off the financial network used by terrorists and eradicating terrorism as much as is possible from the globe. It is not right, however, for individuals to go on the attack against people of certain skin colors, national origins or religious beliefs in an effort to get even with the clandestine group of fanatics who were responsible for Americas tragedy.

Phil Creighton is right. We must all have zero-tolerance for hatred, harassment and other vicious attacks toward our fellow man.

POINTED DISCUSSIONS

The Great Decisions discussion group, which long has tackled issues on U.S. policy related to foreign affairs, should have its plate full this year.

With this months terrorist attacks on New Yorks World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the people who meet twice a month at Union Countys Joseph Building in La Grande will have plenty to talk about this coming year. The group will want to bone up on Middle East politics, the Islam faith and understand the role of Afghanistan in harboring or aiding terrorists.

The good news is that Great Decisions is open to anyone. The groups first meeting is at noon Thursday in the east wing of the Joseph Building. Given the United States role in ridding the world of terrorism, Great Decisions should have a room full of participants this year.