Arab-Americans and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, are closer to ending a war over a resolution about civil rights.
Hatch gave Arab groups 90 percent of what they wanted last week in battles over whether civil rights resolutions should attack the FBI for targeting Arab-Americans for interviews about terrorism during the Persian Gulf war.Hatch earlier threatened to block a resolution by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Paul Simon, D-Ill., unless all wording attacking the FBI was removed, saying he thought the agency had performed as it should.
Hatch introduced a resolution of his own, calling for protection of Arab-American rights, including protecting them against infringements by government agencies. It noted Arab complaints about the FBI without saying if they were justified.
Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the National Association of American Arabs, said, "That goes about 90 percent toward meeting the needs of the community. It fails on one significant item . . . to insist that the FBI singled out the community in 160-plus interviews of Arabs, which is itself a violation of our civil rights."
Jahshan noted that Hatch has been sensitive to their needs in the past and praised Hatch for co-sponsoring a bill that tracks the number of "hate crimes" against ethnic groups.