One of the ugly episodes in our history was the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII. America operated concentration camps, where Japanse-American citizens, guilty of nothing but their Japanese ancestry were imprisoned for the duration of WWII. Whole familes were carted off to be locked away…
So it is no surprise Japanese would be sensitive to the virulent calls to racism by Tea Bagged Republicans – this time against another group, Muslims. They have seen this slide show before…
Japanese Americans decry Rep. King’s Muslim hearings as ‘sinister’
During the chaotic days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Basim Elkarra was passing by an Islamic school in Sacramento when he did a double-take: The windows were covered with thousands of origami paper cranes – peace symbols that had been folded and donated by Japanese Americans.
Amid the anger and suspicions being aimed at Muslims at that time, the show of support “was a powerful symbol that no one will ever forget,” said Elkarra, a Muslim American community leader in California.
It was also the beginning of an unlikely bond between the two groups that has intensified as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King (R-N.Y.)prepares to launch a series of controversial hearings Thursday on radical Islam in the United States.
Spurred by memories of the World War II-era roundup and internment of 110,000 of their own people, Japanese Americans, especially on the West Coast, have been among the most vocal and passionate supporters of embattled Muslims. They’ve rallied public support against hate crimes at mosques, signed on to legal briefs opposing the indefinite detention of Muslims by the government, organized cross-cultural trips to the Manzanar internment camp memorial in California and held “Bridging Communities” workshops in Islamic schools and on college campuses. Read the rest of this entry »