Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


November 5, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Hate crimes against individuals perceived as Arab or Muslim rose dramatically nationwide within 72 hours of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh Muslim, was shot and killed outside his gas station in Mesa, Ariz. for no other apparent reason than that he was dark-skinned and wore a turban. Adel Karas, an Egyptian-born Coptic Orthodox Christian, was shot dead in his grocery store in San Gabriel, Calif. In Dallas, the FBI is investigating the murder of a Pakistani grocer as a hate crime, and three mosques in North Texas were damaged by vandalism.

Southern Methodist University is sponsoring a mock trial and panel discussion, “Preserving the American Dream: Hate Crimes, the Law and the Logic Behind Them” at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom, 3140 Dyer St. The event, sponsored by the SMU chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild, the SMU Student Senate and SMU Affirmative Action Program, is free and open to the public.

The purpose of the event is to promote awareness of hate crimes in light of this national tragedy and to create a safe place to share, understand and heal grievances through dialogue.

Federal Magistrate Judge Jane Boyle will preside in the mock trial, with arguments presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Jarrett and defense attorney Clint Broden.

Following the 45-minute mock trial, a panel discussion and question/answer session will include Darren Hutchinson, SMU law professor; Joel Brooks, executive director of the Southwest regional chapter of the American Jewish Congress; and Victor Abousaid, president of the local chapter of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

For more information, contact Sajeel Khaleel with the SMU chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild at (214) 696-0695 or by e-mail at