STATUE OF ARAB-AMERICAN PEACE ACTIVIST DESECRATED IN CALIFORNIA

 The Arab-American community is outraged at a despicable act of vandalism committed against the Alex Odeh Memorial Statue in front of the Santa Ana Public Library in California. The statue commemorating Odeh, an Arab-American peace activist and a victim of terrorism, was discovered smeared with red paint this morning.

 

"The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply concerned by this act of vandalism," ADC President Hala Maksoud said. "In light of today's act of violence against Alex's statue and memory, ADC feels that there is an urgent need to protect our community. To this day, some extremists continue to spread hatred against us and to desecrate the memory of a cherished, peace-loving individual who is survived by a young widow and three beautiful daughters."

 

Odeh, who was ADC's West Coast Regional Director, was assassinated by a bomb trip-wired to his office door in 1985. News reports indicated that the FBI had identified three suspects in his murder -- all three of whom are believed to be affiliated with the extremist Jewish Defense League (JDL). They reportedly fled to Israel at the time where they received safe haven.

Last year, the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Odeh's killers. During a joint press conference by ADC and the FBI on August 27, 1996, a small group of hecklers screamed obscenities insulting Odeh and his family, condemning the FBI for attempting to resolve this 12-year-old case, and expressing their anger at the statue's presence.

 

ADC is particularly alarmed as the JDL continues to spread hatred against Odeh, even after his assassination, as evidenced by its website on the Internet, which describes Odeh as a "terrorism lover." The JDL webpage further encourages hostility against the statue itself by describing it as a "solid bronze monstrosity." It concludes with the following outrageous statement: "[P]erhaps the most appropriate response to the Odeh statue is made daily by the pigeon population of Santa Ana. So, if you're ever in the area, be sure to stop by the library, and don't forget to bring plenty of birdseed."

 

"Today's cowardly act of vandalism highlights the urgency to resolve this case as Alex's murderers are still at large," Maksoud stated. "We cannot rest until justice prevails and the Arab-American community will not be intimidated by such a hate-filled crime. ADC awaits assurances from law-enforcement agencies that a serious attempt will be made to protect the statue commemorating Alex's commitment to peace, and that threats against our community and its symbols be taken with the seriousness they deserve."

 

DEMAND JUSTICE IN THE ALEX ODEH CASE

 

ADC has requested a meeting with the FBI to discuss the unsolved investigation of the Alex Odeh assassination in light of the recent desecration of the Alex Odeh Memorial Statue in Santa Ana, California. The hateful act of the desecration of the statue is a sign of an overall picture that the Odeh case embodies. See ADC Press Release (at left).

 

This kind of intimidation against our community can no longer be tolerated. We must send the FBI a clear message that we demand a proper investigation and that the Alex Odeh case be given top priority. Twelve years is long enough and it is time for justice to prevail. Threats and acts of violence against our community must be treated with the seriousness they deserve by law enforcement agencies.

Please sign this letter, circulate it to your friends, send it to the FBI and cc a copy to your Senators (http://www.senate.gov/senator/membmail.html) and Congressional Representatives (http://www.house.gov/Whoswho.html). Also forward a copy to ADC at adc@adc.org.

 

There is no email address available for FBI Director Louis J. Freeh. So please take the time to send a letter via fax or regular mail. It may be more time-consuming, but it's worth it since this is a pressing issue affecting our community as a whole. We should not rest until the Odeh case is resolved and until our community can feel safe.

 

Text of the sample letter follows:


 

Please forward copies of all correspondence to

ADC Email adc@adc.org

 

American-Arab

Anti-Discrimination Committee

 

4201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20008, U.S.A.

Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196

Email adc@adc.org

Web : http://www.adc.org/adc/

 

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