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Backlash Threat

Arab American and Jewish communities brace for possible violence.

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As some 20 teens beat 18-year-old Rashid Alam with golf clubs and baseball bats in Yorba Linda on Feb. 22, they allegedly yelled "White Power!" The attack, which Alam's friends said was unprovoked, left the recent high school graduate hospitalized with a fractured jaw and broken bones in his face. Unable to speak because his jaw is wired shut, friends and family despair that he might have suffered permanent brain damage from the 65 blows he endured. Police call the attack a hate crime, but have said that it began as a face-off between two rival groups that had fought in the past. Others said it was fueled solely by ethnic hatred. Ahmed Alam, publisher of the Arab World newspaper in Anaheim, said his son's beating underscored the vulnerability now felt by many Arab Americans.

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