by Chuck Anderson Saturday, Mar. 08, 2003 at 1:11 AM

An Orange County "white power" gang of 20 thugs attack a Muslim boy. Brea Police Dept. arrest and release two attackers, charge them with simple misdemeanor assault and announce to press that this just was a fight between two youth gangs.

By Chuck Anderson, Anaheim, CA

Rashid Alam, an 18 year old American born Muslim was severely beaten by as many as 20 "white power" chanting youth who attacked him in Yorba Linda on Feb. 22.

Rashid, of Lebanese descent, along with a multiethnic group of seven friends were at a neighborhood park planning an evening out. Some 10 cars pulled up and the attackers jumped out, taking off their shirts, showing Nazi swastica tatoos, shouting "white power" and other racial epitets. The white power thugs charged the group with baseball bats, golf clubs and beer bottles. The friends dispersed but the Nazis attacked Rashid who was kicked beaten and stabbed. Witnesses said that they were jumping up and down on Rashid's head with both feet screaming racial slurs such as "F**k the Arabs," "You Arab pieces of s**t" and "camel jockeys." Rashid received substained mutiple head injuries and screw driver stab wounds. He underwent reconstructive surgery on March 1 during which metal plates, pins and screws were used to repair facial bone and other bone fractures.

Two days following the attack, the Brea Police charged two youth with simple misdemeanor assualt and they were released. The police requersted that Rashid's father, Ahmad Alam "keep quiet" about the attack until a through inquiry be conducted.

Following the inaction of the Brea Police Dept. a local Islamic civil rights group, CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) called a press conference at their Anaheim office to demand an FBI probe. Many prominent local civil rights and community religious leaders attended. Sgt Jack Conklin, a public relations officer from the Brea Police commented that the feeling was that this was a pre arranged fight between two opposing gangs and that the Police didn't want to "tip off" the attackers while and investigation was underway. However, witnesses at the press conference stated that the "white power" attackers had been openly boasting of the beating at two local school campasus, Esperanza and Valencia High Schools.

Rashin's father also commented while weeping that he loved America but that some time ago, one of his sons had asked permission to change his Muslim name because of racial hate at school. "I don't understand why people hate us just because we are Muslim and Arab."

In similar bias-related attacks, In Irvington, New Jersey, a Muslim father of six was assualted February 21 by two men who accused him of being a terrorist. The attackers said, "You have to go back to your country," as they knocked the victim to the ground, kicking and injuring him in his head, abdomen and groin.

In Santa Clara, Calif., a Muslim woman wearing Islamic attire was assaulted February 28 in the laundry room of her apartment building-She was punched in the face and suffered a split lip and bruises. Every item in the woman's laundry was later found to be torn and stabbed by a sharp object.

"We believe this recent increase in attacks on American Muslims is the direct result of the barrage of pro-war and anti-Islam rhetoric coming from right-wing and evangelical leaders," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussan Ayloush. He added that,"government officials, elected representatives and political commentators should also cool down the rhetoric and acknowledge that harsh words can lead to violent actions." Since September 11, over 2500 hate incidents cases were reported to CAIR nationwide.