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In The Hoop
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Bush Says, Part I
Once again, President Bush is appealing to the American public, urging tolerance of practitioners of the Islamic faith and others who have been killed, harassed and threatened since September 11's terrorist attacks.

In a meeting with Muslim and Arab-American leaders, Bush said the United States is fighting a war against "evil," not religion. Osama bin Laden is an "evil man" with "evil goals" whereas Islam's teachings are of "peace and good."

But his earlier meeting with Sikh leaders showed that some Americans aren't getting the message. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh grocery store owner in Arizona, was killed shortly after the attacks in what is being treated as a hate crime.

Nationwide, reports of violence and threats against Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants, or those believed to be, have risen. Arab students are dropping out of schools in small, but measurable numbers, afraid of potential retaliation.

But what's the solution, if any? If you ask author Sherman Alexie, maybe we should sing. In a recent appearance at the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Center in Washington, he advocated listening and telling stories to respond to terrorism.

"I just know that if enough people stood up at a time and told stories, and we listened, we wouldn't have time for a war," he is quoted telling the crowd.

So get to it. Everyone sing your favorite song or tell your favorite story. In The Hoop is picking "Ain't Nothing But A Good Time" by Poison.

Bush Says, Part II
Speaking of Bush, it seems that the newfound writings of a certain professor aren't helping his speaking abilities all the time. His off-the-cuff remarks which led to criticism early after the terrorist attacks appear to be returning.

When calling on Russian separatists to drop ties to terrorist, he referred to bin Laden's terrorist network yesterday as a group of "folks." There may be al-Qaeda "folks" in Chechnya, said Bush, using language members of his own party found off-putting.

But it's also what Bush isn't saying that might be raising eyebrows. The New York Post made a big deal about his comments to get bin Laden "dead or alive," going so far as to offer a full-size document (warning: large document) of the paper's now infamous poster.

Well, Bush isn't talking that tough anymore. Good enough, considering that Apache leader Geronimo is one of the few the United States has ever wanted "Dead or Alive." And as the administration puts it, military action against bin Laden is far off, anyway.

Bush Says, Part III
Well, actually it's what some of his top aides aren't saying. It turns out the White House made a mistake when it claimed Bush and Air Force One were targeted for a terrorist hit.

A call spokesperson Ari Fleischer said was made to the Secret Service cannot be traced. Yet after initially making a big deal about the "credible" threats, Fleischer won't comment about them any more.

In Your Hoop
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