JEDDAH, Feb 12: Former US vice-president Al Gore on Sunday said that the US government had committed ‘terrible abuses’ against Arabs living in America after 9/11 attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment.
Mr Gore said the Bush administration was playing into Al Qaeda’s hands by routinely blocking Saudi applications for US visas.
“The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake,” Mr Gore said at the Jeddah Economic Forum. “The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
The former US vice-president told the largely Saudi audience, many of them educated in US universities, that Arabs in the United States had been “indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable.”
“Unfortunately there have been terrible abuses and it’s wrong. I do want you to know that it does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country.”
He explained that American emotions were running high after the attacks.
Mr Gore complained of ‘endemic hyper-corruption’ among Tehran’s religious and political elite and asked Arabs to take a stand against Iran’s nuclear programme because of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements against Israel.—AP