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 firstname.lastname@example.org.