Japanese-Americans team with Muslim groups to end hateful rhetoric

Japanese-Americans are teaming up with Muslim groups to call for an end to anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

On a dreary day in San Francisco's Japantown, just across from Peace Plaza, there was a call for peace.

"May peace be upon all of you," said Samina Sundas, Executive Director of American Muslim Voice.

Sundas was among the Muslim and Arab-Americans who joined forces in a news conference with Japanese-Americans to call for an end to the fiery rhetoric that they say is creating a dangerous environment for people of Middle Eastern descent.

"There are far too many people who are spouting messages of hate and violence," said Sameena Usman from the Council on American-Islamic relations.

Karen Korematsu, Executive Director at the Fred Korematsu Institute added, "We should all work together so that we can change the hearts and minds and stop this racial profiling and racial discrimination."

San Francisco's Public Defender Jeff Adachi made an impassioned plea for change.

"When we hear about the acts of vandalism that are occurring every day, even throughout California, we have to stand up and support those who are being victimized."

Since the ISIS attack on Paris last month, there has been a dramatic increase in attacks on mosques and Muslims across the country, including here in the Bay Area.

On Monday, KTVU covered the story of a man who allegedly threatened to kill the people of a Richmond mosque and was found to have a fake pipe bomb.

At this news conference, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump was the primary target.

"Your politics of fear, your politics of hate, your politics of division is really tearing up our country. You have no clue what you have done to America. Our little girls, Muslim little girls are terrified. They don't want to go to school," said Samina Sundas.

It's not just Muslim and Arab-American adults who are feeling victimized and targeted by this rhetoric, it's also children. And it's something that Karen Korematsu can relate to because of her own childhood.

"The kids would say it was my fault for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They would call me all kinds of racist names. They would say go back to Japan. You don't belong here. It was a very scary time," she said. "Because that's what they're told at school by their fellow students. That they are ISIS and Army's going to come get ISIS," added Sundas.

There are eerie similarities between the two times that are more than 70 years apart.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi was born in Sacramento, but was still taken to the Tule Lake Internment Camp when he was 19-years-old. "What happened to us makes me fearful for what might happen," he said.