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Message of cancellation from the Arab Film Festival

Saturday September 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO - The organizers of the Arab Film Festival would like to express their sadness around Tuesday’s tragic events in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh. These tragic events affect all Americans, including Arab-Americans. The Arab Film Festival extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims. It is very regrettable that so many innocent individuals have lost their lives or have been injured. 

The Arab Film Festival decided to cancel the second half of its 2001 event, which was to open in Berkeley, Sept. 12, in sympathy with the victims of Tuesday’s tragic event and for the safety of the audience and volunteers in the event of possible hate crimes. 

The Arab Film Festival strives to educate the Bay Area community by enhancing public understanding of Arab culture and heritage, therefore providing alternative representations of Arabs that contradict the stereotypical images frequently encountered in the American mass media. 

Perhaps, at a moment like this, the need for such an educational forum is even more necessary. 

The Arab Film Festival urges the mass media not to rush to judgment, for whoever committed these acts does not represent its community. The Festival hopes that the communities in the Bay Area and elsewhere will not fall victim to the general stereotypical thinking and assume that all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists.