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News :: Human Rights : Race
Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
03 May 2005
Riyadh Mohammed 20, an Economics Major in his Junior year at Tufts University, alleges that he was attacked by three fraternity brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon in front of their frat house early Saturday morning. He claims he was beaten unconscious, and subjected to a chain of racist epithets. Police confirm that he was in need of medical attention after the incident.

Never one to hold back his opinions, president of the Arab Students Association at the school, and one who friends say, “puts the fact that he is an Arab out there.” Mohammed is proud of who he is.
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According to Mohammed, he and his girlfriend were walking home from a party at about 2am Saturday morning. They passed in front of 114 Curtis, the Sigma Phi Epsilon house, and to his girlfriend, Riyadh commented, “Sig Ep fucking sucks.”

Whether intended or not, the hostile comment was overheard. Insults were exchanged and a short, slight, scuffle ensued.

“No one likes Indians anyway,” said Sig Ep alum Nishant Mektha- according to Mohammed.

“I’m not Indian, I’m an Arab.” He corrected.

“Even worse, you’re a terrorist.”

Police broke up the scuffle and Riyadh says he then dropped his girlfriend off at her home. After saying goodbye he says he immediately returned to Sig Ep to “explain the difference between an Arab and a terrorist.”

He claims he was calm and harbored no intention of fighting.

His decision to go back to the house may seem to some an aggressive move but racial tensions are high for some Arab students on campus. One young man who wished to remain anonymous- in order to “protect his reputation” -said that he felt “more welcome as an American in the Middle East than he does as an Arab in America.”

Mohammed is also President of an association whose role is to raise Arab awareness on campus by bringing speakers and movies, holding discussions, and building coalitions with other marginalized groups. It is part of his personal mission on campus to educate about his heritage, and he has spent most of his free time on it.

One reason for the growing tension cited by other members of the Arab Students Association, is a publication called the “Primary Source,” a well-known right-wing student newspaper that is distributed around campus and online.

To cite one example, an article that ran in the April 17th issue titled, “Tear down the Madrassa,” attacks Islam as the source of all evil in the Middle East.

“The fruits of Islam in today’s world are overwhelmingly negative. It has become a political goblin, and such a goblin cannot be reconciled with liberal values,” it reads. In another passage, the authors Patrick Randall and Jordan Greene say, “the Middle East is a bed of robbers.”

The Primary Source does not represent all students of course, but is well recognized as spreading anti-Muslim sentiments. I an article printed in October 2004’s Tufts Observer, Muslim Danyal Najmi writes: “Though it may enrage the Primary Source, it has been a great joy for me to discover the broadmindedness that I encounter in the many religious groups on campus.”

When Riyadh Mohammed returned to the Sig Ep frat house to talk to Nishant Mektha about the difference between an Arab and a Terrorist, Mohammad says the exchange began as a conversation. At one point in the verbal debate Mohammed asked, “What if I was Iraqi?” At that point, according to Mohammed’s account, two other individuals attacked him from the side.

He says the three brothers then beat him until he was unconscious, calling him an Iraqi, a Sadaam supporter, and a terrorist.

An unidentified Sig Ep alumnus “of Indian descent” denied this and told the Tufts Daily that, “the second incident was not racially motivated in any way,” but admits racial slurs were used in the first. He also claimed that Mohammed called him an “Indofuck” and that Mohammed was drunk and belligerent.

Then, according to some accounts that Mohammed says others have told him around campus, they kicked him in the head while he was down. The same alumnus is unsure about this, “I don’t think anyone kicked him.”

Fearing the consequences of their attack, Mohammed claims they dragged him inside and gave him a glass of water, begging him not to call the police. Again the anonymous alumnus quoted in the daily is not sure this is true, “I don’t think he made it inside the house.”

The Tufts police department responded to Riyadh’s call at 2:49 AM. Upon seeing his condition they summoned their medical personnel, who in turn recommended that he attend to his wounds at a hospital immediately. At that time he refused, but the next morning he was taken to the New England Medical Center by his parents who drove up from New York. He was given a CAT scan and chest cavity X-ray by staff, and diagnosed with a concussion.

Police are interviewing William Toner, whom Mohammed claimed was the first to knock him to the ground.

Dean Bruce Reitman who is working with police and Mohammed on the case told the Tufts Observer, “if it's found that Tufts students did what he alleges, very serious disciplinary action will result.”

Kim Thurler, of the Tufts Police Dept. says the police investigation is ongoing and they are interviewing a number of witnesses.

_________________
One Sigma Phi Epsilon Member who was there when Mohammed was inside the house refused to comment for this article.

Peter Willis, local President of Sig Ep house was unavailable at the time of writing.

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
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Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
03 May 2005
Why would Nishant Mehta, an Indian guy, tell Riyadh Mohammed that "no one likes Indians anyway"? It doesn't make any sense.

As a Tufts student of Indian descent, I was pretty angered when I first heard of this whole incident on Sunday night. But then this article in Monday's Tufts Daily (http://www.tuftsdaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/05/02/4275cadd14dc8) led me to see things differently. I think there is no doubt that slurs were used in the first incident (whether or not Nishant was the name-caller). I feel that there is not enough information, though, regarding the second incident, when the beating happened. It's basically Mohammed's word against the frat's word as to whether or not racial slurs were used in that altercation, and we should not jump to conclusions.

That Mohammed was attacked is certainly wrong, but I am leery of calling it a hate crime until more information is known.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
03 May 2005
I agree with Adi that at this point it is one mans word against the "anonymous alumnus". However, Riyadh Mohammed is well respected in the community wheras we know nothing of this anonymous person other than he is of Indian descent.

I don't think there is any question whether Riyadh was attacked or not, both sides agree that the frat boys swung first. The question is whether the attack was racially motivated. Both sides in these two articles agree the first incident included a racial slur, yet they differ on the second.

I went back and included some of the daily's quotes that I had not been aware of previously. I do have a suspicion that the anonymous alumnus in the daily story is Nishant, I hesitate to speculate but it is a possibility given that mr. Anonymous is of Indian descent and claims that Mohammed insulted him. But again, this is only speculation, not fact.

It also notable that the anonymous alumnus quoted in the daily prefaced his assertions with "I don't think" twice. This means he wasn't sure, which is odd. Either he made it into the house or he didn't. Either he was kicked while on the ground or he wasn't. Especially if this person was personally involved in the fight, these prefaces are suspicious.

The difficult thing about this story is that no one seems to be talking, and I do not have the access that a Tufts student might.

If anyone at Tufts who witnessed this event would like to come forward please call Indymedia at 617-338-0184.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
04 May 2005
Just so you know, a hate crime is a crime done with the intent to terrify or intimidate a particular group. This sounds like a regular drunken altercation which, unfortunately and predictably, involved some racial name-calling.

I'm sorry this guy got the shit kicked out of him, but it's not like these dipshit frat boys were out there targeting Arabs.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
04 May 2005
"Just so you know, a hate crime is a crime done with the intent to terrify or intimidate a particular group."
Thanks for the confident tidbit of information though I must ask where under any hate crimes legislation is it specified that crimes of hate are only those in which the end result was to "terrify or intimidate a particular group"?
As I have understood the law (and I by no means feel that I "know" a whole lot about it but I have studied it to a small extent) a hate crime is one that was "committed because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation." now in different states legislation varies, but Ive yet to see it so narrowly applied that a hate crime must be one in which the aggressor's intentions were directed at an entire group, not just an individual.
A hate crime on campus here in New York.
04 May 2005
What kind of frat is this? Is this more of the "lets hit on underage girls and get them drunk/ meathead/women-beware" frat?

We had a hatecrime on campus here in NY. Some skinhead kid attacked a Jewish student with a knife in a wooded area. Well, the victim was stabbed- yet, still managed to beat up the skinhead and ran away to get medical attention (he passed out when he reached a busy area).

The skinhead was convicted of a hate-crime and will do his time in bars and hopefully learn that ignorance & hate doesn't pay and that he's better off as a person without it.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
04 May 2005
If this story is so suspect as Pete states, then why is it featured so prominently?
Accuracy
04 May 2005
If one were not looking to exaggerate, one might simply say a belligerent guy mouthed off to a bunch of frat boys, was insulted in turn, came back later for revenge and got beaten up.

It is rather irrelevant whether race was involved in this issue.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
i agree that the frat guys probably didnt initially go after him because he's arab. but because they verbally attacked him with racial comments (indian to terrorist etc), they obviously felt ok with focusing on his skin color. beating him WHILE saying this racial shit? ok let's wait for the full investigation and everything but this was flat out racism. if it escalated into violence the way he said, then its a hate crime. its inexcusable for someone to "throw in some racial terms" just because of alcohol (or any reason for that matter). its not justifiable
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
Why do you think skin color had anything to do with it? Last time I checked, most Arabs are white.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
I never said the case was "suspect." I only include the information that has been discovered so far. Riyadh Mohammed is respected in his community, and no one has gone on record against his word. Out of an entire house of frat boys, not one will go on record to say anything different than Riyadh. The college paper quoted an anonymous observer, but that observer was tainted by possibly involvement and ambiguous statements.

The case is clearly complicated, but if the acts went down as Riyadh said, this is a hate crime. Regardless of what he said to his girlfriend, regardless of one anonymous persons allegation that he used a racial slur (which was not corroborated by anyone and that anonymous person cannot be found), if he was blindsided by three people, thrown to the ground, and kicked in the head while the shouted racial slurs, this was very clearly by law and common sense a hate crime.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
Your words:
"The question is whether the attack was racially motivated. Both sides in these two articles agree the first incident included a racial slur, yet they differ on the second."
Clearly the story is suspect. Responsible journalists would wait until all the facts were in before publishing such a race-baiting article. It appears that the intent of the article is to inflame passions and turn a frat incident into something that it is not. Somebody using a racial slur (if it was indeed a racial slur...seems the jury is out) does not turn an assault into a racial incident. These morons should be prosecuted for assault. You - Pete - should be more responsible in your writing. This article does nothing more than play on emotions.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
First off he shouldnt be passing out on their lawn when that can get them in trouble because people will jump to conclusions about where he got drunk at. secondly while their, he shouldnt say "sig ep fucking sucks" that would piss anyone off, not just a fraternity. the comment itself is completely full of hate toward a group as well but no one really pointed that out. lastly, after this initial confrontation he shouldnt go back at 2 in the morning. if he wanted to tell people about why he wasnt a terrorist he should have gone back the next day when he and the Brothers weren't drunk.

This whole story is his word against anothers, and your article completely focuses on his. he seemed to have some sort of preconcieved feelings toward Sigma Phi Epsilon and it seems like he could have exhaggerated about most of this in order to get them in trouble.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
also, the question was asked about what kind of "frat" this is. Sigma Phi Epsilon is the largest and one of the most respected, oldest, revered, and renowned Fraternities in the nation.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
Sid- you have a rep on the site for taking a certain side on the issues, so I'll just assume people are smart enough to see your bias.

The jury is not still out on the first racial slur, all sides agree on it. Mohammed says racial slurs were in the second incident, only one anonymous source says otherwise.

My story is not race-baiting, I wrote this in the most responsible and fair manner I could devise in order to come as close as possible to the truth. I presented all available information on this story.

If you persist in slandering me, I will petition for your comments removal from the site unless you also reveal your true identity so that the appropriate legal actions can be taken.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
" Why do you think skin color had anything to do with it? Last time I checked, most Arabs are white."

As far as skin color goes, Arabs run the gamut from "white" to as dark-skinned as any African. Race is about a lot more than skin color--it's a social category more than anything else actually. Scientists now agree that as a referrent to anything biological, race is meaningless. As a society, we designate certain groups of people as belonging to a particular race, a process known as "racialization". For much of modern history, Jews were considered to belong to a separate race, not to be white. Hell, for a long time the Irish were not considered to be white, but to be a lesser race. Nowadays, people regard Arabs as belonging to a distinct social category, as being different than members of other races--so Arabs constitute a race (in the sense of a social category) regardless of their skin color(s). And they certainly experience racism as well. The fact that Mohammed was called by racial epithets makes this a racist incident.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
05 May 2005
If the fraternity is innocent in all of this, why are they taking a pledge of silence, remaining all silent, however you want to put it. Also, the physical evidence exists to show how hurt he in fact was, and probably was running on adrenaline when he went home that night. The guy who commented in the daily was *most likely* one of the three, and observed without intervening. Why would Sig Ep kick out the freshman if the crime did not take place? How convenient that only 1 person from the frat was involved and that no one else saw it happen. Now, I happen to know there are good guys in Sig Ep, but there are also some not so good ones. To watch this and not intervene-that's not cool. Silence condones-it's not neutral. And returning to the frat in no way justifies the verbal and physical attack that resulted. Alcohol is not an excuse either-it doesn't turn people into racist violent animals!
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
06 May 2005
Pete Writes: "If you persist in slandering me, I will petition for your comments removal from the site unless you also reveal your true identity so that the appropriate legal actions can be taken."

This is your typical type of response Peter. If you don't like someone's bias, simply petition for him to be removed. I'll reveal my full name when everybody else who posts to this site does. Until such time Sid will do. I'm curious as to what legal action you feel you are entitled. Just for the comic relief of it. If you want bias, just look at your article. It is a travesty that such race baiting is allowed on this site.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
06 May 2005
Well ain't this special. Idiot insults frat boys, gets into argument, goes back later to "explain" gets his/her ass whipped. Now it's a hate crime. ROFLMAO.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
06 May 2005
SId- calling me a race-baiter and an irresponsible journalist is not anything close to the truth. Perhaps you are correct that it's not enough to build a case on in court, but hiding behind a fake identity gives you no accountability for your comments, and thus absolutely no credibility.

There are very valid reasons to hide or delete comments that constitute personal attacks against individuals here, especially when the individual making them is able to hide under a rock while making them. I'll bring it up to the editorial collective today, also noting this as another example of your pattern of trying to disrupt any constructive activity on IMC.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
07 May 2005
Ok Pete. Let's see what we have here. You published an article. You later posted a comment in response to someone who questioned the veracity of the reporting on the entire incident. You stated, "I agree with Adi that at this point it is one mans word against the "anonymous alumnus" and "The difficult thing about this story is that no one seems to be talking, and I do not have the access that a Tufts student might. "

Now, a responsible journalist would have waited until he had either direct access to the facts or access to a Tufts student or someone else who had access to the facts. You admittedly had neither. These are your own words! I didn't make them up. Yet you found it necessary to post an article about an alleged hate crime on the Tufts Campus. You then cite an anonymous alumnus but later you double back on your self questioning the veracity of that alumnus, but then not wanting to speculate, you in fact do speculate that the anonomous alumnus is Mr. Nishant. Here is what you said:
"I do have a suspicion that the anonymous alumnus in the daily story is Nishant, I hesitate to speculate but it is a possibility given that mr. Anonymous is of Indian descent and claims that Mohammed insulted him. But again, this is only speculation, not fact." It is at this point that I was sure that you were itching to print something about a hate crime so that you coould blame it on a conservative student newpaper, and that you did no homework at all. You call this responsible journalism? Would not a reasonable person consider this race baiting? Yet instead of retracting your article, you take your characteristic easy way out. First you say that I have no credibility. Well that may or may not be so. You apparently think that I do otherwise you wouldn't make your ever present threat, namely to say that you will go to the editorial board to have me banned from the site. Do what you must. I will still call it as I see it and will shout out when the emperor has no clothes. In this case you, the emperor, are butt naked. But you believe in free speech - or so you say. I'm convinced as are many others, that free speech only extends to your point of view. If you don't like the fact that you are criticized, you push the censorship button. Am I surprised? Absolutely not. This is your method of operation. Anarchy - but controlled anarchy. Think as we say you should think. Repeat after me "we are all different...we are all unique." Anyway, for someone who has no credibility, it seems an extraordinary step to take the time to address the editorial board to have that person banned. If I have no credibility, then my posts should not bother you.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
07 May 2005
I am glad to see you have made up your own rules about journalism. It makes me laugh when acuse me of censorship for wanting to take off your comments that are aimed at getting me to take down the article or feel ashamed for writing it.

You're right to say I shouldn't give a damn.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
08 May 2005
I love how the "borthers" from other states are weighing in to protect their group members that they don't even know. And I am sorry, even the "most revered" frat in the nation, if it has not integrated gender, deserves no reverence from anyone.

Frats are training in group mentaltiy - it will come in handy in board rooms, the military, or other roles as beaurocrats and corporate tools. Simply do whatever you need to to cover your "brother's" ass, no matter how bigoted, brutal or vicious he is being. So what if he drugs women and rapes them? So what if he has to beat the shit out of a "terrorist." Just cover for him. It is a small price to pay for being able to "fit in" as "oneof the guys." I wonder how many cops start out as frat boys. You know, the code of blue, like the NYPD heros who refused to testify about the sodomizing and other torture of a Hatian man in the police station's restroom??

Anyhow, I am sure there are many well meaning young men who wind up in frats, but for those of weak character, the experience will not likely be improving them.

And to compare a negative comment about a "frat" - a gender apartheid social group, to an epithet about race or gender is just beyond pathetic.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
08 May 2005
You are correct that Iwant you to feel ashamed for writing it. You should be ashamed. Your piece which you admitedly did little homework is a disgrace. It served to do little more than inflame passions. A reponsible journalist would have checked multiple sources and then reported. I don't want you to take it down, as it allows people to see your bias and how you are so quick to throw terms like "hate" around if it suits your agenda. Your agenda is quite transparent too. You mentioned a Tufts conservative student newspaper which had nothing to do with the incident yet you speculate that somehow, the hateful conservatives are behind this. What about the hate that YOU Peter have sown with this article? The frat boys were clearly wrong in assaulting this young man. However, you assume because some idiot referred to him as a terrorist, this was somehow a hate crime. Since when do frat boys NOT act like idiots? But again...you have an agenda. Your agenda is to promote racial disharmony because it aids your cause of "anarchy." If you can cause minority groups to feel disenfranchised, then you add recruits to your cause. The bottom line Pete is that you are obviously a very angry young man and it shows in your writing. Also allow me to correct something that you said earlier. I never called you an irresponsible journalist. I caled your piece irresponsible journalism. You are not an irresponsible journalist. You may be irresponsible, but you are not a journalist.
Re: Hate Crime Alleged on Tufts Campus
19 May 2005
To hear a radio piece containing several short interviews with various Tufts students to gather their reactions to this alleged attack, please see http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=12471
depression
03 Jun 2006
This is very interesting site...