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Terrorist attack on Islamic Center threatens constitutional freedoms

I am writing to express my grave concern and outrage at the recent attack on the Islamic Center of New England in Quincy, MA, on March 30, 1990.

At a time when America is increasingly concerned about fighting terrorism abroad, acts of terrorism are occurring right here in the United States.

The arson at the Islamic Center represents a violent intolerance that threatens not just Muslims, but our constitutionally guaranteed right to free expression and freedom to practise any religion. Moreover, it was no coincidence that the attack occurred on the Muslim Sabbath, Friday, at the holiest time of the Muslim year, Ramadan. Coming at a time of heightened sensitivities, the assault was meant to inflict the greatest pain and damage.

A Boston television station, WCVB CHannel 5, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had prior knowledge of terrorist threats against Muslim places of worship. Yet this information was not communicated to the local police departments.

The arson at Quincy was not the first occurrence of an attack on places of worship. In Massachusetts alone, over a dozen churches, synagogues, and mosques have been vandalized in the past few years. If religious intolerance and discrimination is to be eliminated, and freedom to worship guaranteed, then it is imperative that such incidents be condemned and throughly investigated by law enforcement agencies.

Viqar Ali '85