Washington ANCA Calls For Investigation Into Anti-Armenian Threat

Copy of the hate mail

Elderly Armenian Couple Targeted with Racist Letter

BETHESDA, Md.—The Armenian National Committee of America – Greater Washington Wednesday called upon police and postal authorities to fully investigate and prosecute an anti-Armenian threat against an elderly Rockville couple of Armenian heritage.

An envelope addressed to A. Sahagian included a news clipping (see attached image) about the recent Boston Marathon bombing, with the handwritten message: “Another Armenian Bastard,” pointing to a discredited link between this act of terrorism and what the news story incorrectly referenced as “an Armenian man named ‘Misha.'”

“We call upon federal and local authorities to immediately investigate and fully prosecute those responsible for this hate crime,” said ANCA-Greater Washington spokesperson Sevan Kolejian. “This hateful act of intolerance and intimidation also serves to remind the media of the human price innocent citizens are paying for their flagrant and repeated misreporting of the ‘Misha’ story.”

Ara and Salpee Sahagian are both long-time residents of Maryland, having served in the lay leadership of Bethesda’s Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, and as active members in a range of community and civic organizations.  A U.S. Army veteran, Ara worked for four decades as an engineer for the Department of the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.  His wife, Salpee, worked at the Library of Congress and later served as an aide to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.

In the days following the Boston Marathon bombing, Armenian Americans protested news outlets that repeated the unsubstantiated, and now fully discredited, allegation by the uncle of the two suspects, Ruslan Tsarni, that they were somehow inspired to commit these crimes by an ethnic Armenian convert to Islam.  News reports later identified ‘Misha’ as Mikhail Allakhverdov, an Armenian-Ukrainian from Azerbaijan, whose family fled anti-Armenian persecution in the early 1990’s.

The ANCA-Greater Washington, DC has reached out to local churches and community groups to collect information regarding any other reported instances of anti-Armenian hatred, and calls upon all Armenian Americans to report documented cases of anti-Armenian hate crime to report-hate-crime@anca.org.

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7 Comments

  1. Vindicated Man said:

    I am tired of this story about Misha, and its negative impact. The mass media job was unprofessional, unprincipled, and lacked journalistic ethics. The original story was based on family gossip, and was published without verifying any facts. And now this story results in an ethnophobic threat.
    Question: How can this be avoided in future?
    I think that one possible solution would be for an Armenian organization to sue the journalist of the major news outlet that published this story first. If he lacks professionalism, he should not be in the business, so let him pay a sizable penalty. A result like this will impose some discipline on his peers. I am not against free speech, I am only someone who believes that people and big corporations should act responsibly.

  2. arziv said:

    The journalists who published the hate screed, based on a spurious reporting, should be hounded from law court to law court on difamatory and ethnic hate slandering . However the damage was done . Free speech has nothing to do here. A report before it is released should be and must be verified to be genuine. If the report were to have been true, there would have been no problem with free speech. There is a thin line between free speech and baseless, baseless, mendacious hate slander. Free speech or free cheat and lying ?

  3. Karegin Atamian said:

    It’s the dark side of their doctrine and belief that motivates them to perpetuate criminal acts. An fake story of a an individual supposedly converted to Islam can’t push the others to make a bomb and target the public. It is The Mullahs preaching in the Mosques. Keep on prosecuting the liars.

  4. Karegin Atamian said:

    It’s the dark side of their doctrine and belief that motivates them to perpetuate criminal acts. An fake story of a an individual supposedly converted to Islam wouldn’t justify. It is The Mullahs preaching in the Mosques. Keep on prosecuting the liars.

    • Karegin Atamian said:

      It’s actually the dark side of the faith they adhered to pulls them into vicious act but not an fake Misha could seduce them into criminal acts,

  5. Hagopian hagopian said:

    My question to you is how is suing a journalist or a reporter or a tv anchor going to change anything, especially when there is no accountability. Maybe, if an Armenian has the balls and approaches them and slaps them or throws some baking soda on them then they might think twice.

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