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Attack Causes Oil Supply Concerns in Midwest - 2001-09-13


Worries over gasoline supplies in the United States drove prices up in the hours after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, those fears eased, but some Americans who live hundreds of kilometers from the sites of the attacks are still worried about their effects.

By Tuesday evening in many U.S. cities and towns, lines for gasoline were getting longer, and prices were getting higher. The cost of gasoline in some cities reached an unprecedented $1.35 per liter, as station owners feared they might not receive their next shipment for some time. By Wednesday afternoon, the lines were gone and prices back to normal as the U.S. Energy Secretary and oil industry experts assured America that fears of a shortage resulting from the attacks were unfounded.

Not everyone is breathing easier though. Some Arab-Americans say they fear a backlash the more news reports focus on the possibility that Islamic terrorists carried out the attacks. Tuesday night in the small city of East Lansing, Michigan, a single gunshot pierced the side of a Muslim family's home. East Lansing Police Lt. Julie Lieber says police spent Tuesday evening and Wednesday investigating. "Certainly, we are suspicious that there may be a link, but we have no way of confirming that at this time," she said.

The shooting saddens the city's Arab-Americans, many of whom have lived in the United States for years and are just as sickened by Tuesday's attacks as non-Arabs in this country. Omar Shulbani heads the East Lansing Islamic center, which sits next door to the family home that was shot at. "This is a unique incident," he said. "We have never had anything [like it] before and I hope this time it is the same. We are part of the community and we share the same values and the same concerns."

Several hundred thousand Arab-Americans live in Michigan - most in the Detroit area. That city's mayor is asking residents not to treat Muslims any differently than they would treat other neighbors.

One positive response to the attacks has been the countless number of Americans who have offered various types of help. The Red Cross blood donor center in Michigan's capital, Lansing, says people began streaming in to donate blood just hours after jets plowed into their targets in New York and Washington, and the office was even busier Wednesday. Much of that blood will be sent to hospitals in the New York area.

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