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Muslims cautious despite positive UC reaction

By Sasha Khokha Special to the Daily Planet
Friday September 14, 2001

UC student Hooma Multani ignored her family’s warnings Thursday morning to stay home because they feared her headscarf might make her a target for anti-Muslim sentiment. 

As Multani walked across the UC Berkeley campus, a stranger rushed toward her. And hugged her. “She thanked me for coming to class,” Multani said, obviously relieved.  

“We’re fortunate to be in a community like this,” she said. “People at Berkeley are generally more supportive, not closed-minded. Of course, a few people continue to talk out of ignorance, with hateful thoughts or words.” 

Some of those hateful words were directed at Multani and others during an interview as they sat at the Muslim Students Association table in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Thursday. “We should kill the Muslims with a nuclear bomb,” said an elderly man walking by.  

“Thanks for your comment,” Multani and another woman said, explaining that the same man had made a similar remark on Wednesday. For the most part, Muslim students said they feel safe on campus, thanks to a supportive response by administrators, faculty, and students. Concern over violence against Muslims has intensified since U.S. officials named Muslim leaders as prime suspects in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks against the United States.  

The Muslim Students Association addressed their main concern – attacks against Muslim women wearing headscarves – by setting up an escort service with Muslim men accompanying women between campus and their apartments and to grocery stores. 

For its part, the university administration is creating a hotline for students, faculty, and