Fair-Housing Advocate Feels Hate-Group Harrassment FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 20:26:37 -0700 (PDT)


FWD
                   WOMAN FEELS HATE GROUP HARASSMENT
                     Associated Press (no author)
                             18 July 1999

SEATTLE -- A year ago, Bonnie Jouhari was busily involved in her
community in Pennsylvania - working for fair housing and battling hate
groups.

Now the 42-year-old, single mother and her 17-year-old daughter, Dani,
are hiding in the Seattle area, trying to escape harassment by people
who consider her "a race traitor" to fellow whites.

She accuses the federal government of foot-dragging that she says has
left her without protection or assistance.

After getting TV and newspaper coverage last year in Pennsylvania,
Jouhari said she wanted to stay out of the public spotlight in
Washington for her daughter's sake. But she contacted the Seattle Post-
Intelligencer out of frustration after her harassers found their
temporary home in Silverdale, across Puget Sound from Seattle.

The problems started when Jouhari was a fair housing specialist for the
Reading-Berks County Human Relations Council in eastern Pennsylvania.

After she organized a workshop on how hate groups used the Internet to
recruit members and intimidate enemies, and appeared on a local TV
program about hate groups, her photograph appeared on the Web site of a
Philadelphia-based white supremacist group called Alpha HQ, according
to court documents.

Alpha HQ described itself as "the racial, political/paramilitary arm of
the Aryan people."

A caption next to Jouhari's picture on the Web site called her a race
traitor and warned that such traitors "will be hung from the neck from
the nearest tree or lamppost."

"Over the next eight months, we endured hell," Jouhari said. Fliers
branding her a race traitor were left at her door. Anonymous callers
told her to write a will. The head of the local Ku Klux Klan hung
around her office, taking her picture.

"It annoyed me but didn't scare me," she said.

But when members of the group learned that Jouhari's daughter is
biracial, "they had a field day," Jouhari said.

She said she decided to move when her daughter received a call warning
that "they could get to both of us whenever they wanted to."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher filed a lawsuit accusing
Alpha HQ of publishing terroristic threats, ethnic intimidation and
harassing messages.

The state won by default in December when the defendants failed to show
up in court, but by then Jouhari and her daughter were living in
Silverdale.

Jouhari and Dani could have been eligible for Pennsylvania's victim and
witness protection program, but now the state cannot help -- beyond
granting her unemployment benefits -- because federal authorities have
taken over the case, the newspaper said.

Federal officials say they can't do anything to shield her until the
investigation is complete and charges are filed.

"I don't know if the government is really serious about civil
rights," said Jouhari. "If they were, they would file the case they
took over in Pennsylvania last year that we were involved in. Since
they haven't, we can't qualify for protection to help us get our lives
together."

Federal officials declined to comment on the case, other than to say
the investigation is still active, the Post-Intelligencer said.

END FORWARD

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