Caught in the Crossfires

David Van Taylor: Brad Lichtenstein
The Independent Television Service
United States

Before September 11th, New York City's Arab population was one among many immigrant groups making their way in the city: politically diverse; assimilated and separatist; Muslim, Christian, and fundamentalist; wealthy and working class; struggling and successful. Now Arab Americans are caught in the crossfire of President Bush's war against terrorism, and are finding out how cold the welcome can be when you belong to the wrong immigrant group at the wrong time. Three Arab Americans have had a particularly trucky road to navigate in recent months. Raghida Dergham is a high-level diplomatic correspondent for the leading independent Arabic newspaper nad a regular pundit on CNN. While the U.S. has given her the opportunity to be an independent, successful woman, she sometimes feels like a woman without a country. Khader El-Yateem is an outsider among outsiders - an Arab Christian. But since September 11th, his Salam Arabic Lutheran Church has become a haven for Brooklyn Arabs, Christian and Muslim alike. As a child in Yemen, Ahmed Nasser watched American cop shows and decided hewanted to be one of the good guys. He was stationed at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11 and felt the full impact of terrorism on New York. But has seen his fellow officers ignore for help from harassed Arab-Americans. Like many immigrants, Arab-Americans are torn between their adopted country and their homeland, between modern American culture and ancient traditions. Now. As they wrestle with their place in wartime America, CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIREA gives voice to a three people whose stories we need to hear.