Local News

Rumors Of Anti-Patriotism May Force Oxford Business To Shut Down

Posted September 18, 2001

— An Oxford business that took several years and several thousand dollars to build up could become another casualty of the attack on America. It is not the work of terrorists, but the dirty words of discrimination that is causing the trouble.

An Egyptian family runs an Oxford sandwich shop called American Hero. The owners say business is down in part because of wild rumors they "celebrated" after last week's attack. The rumors have prompted death threats and rumblings of a boycott.

"We are suffering just like every other American in the United States, but this way we're suffering from both ends," said store owner Phoebe Elmenshawi. "You know what happened and then on the other side from people that are not giving us a chance and believing things that are lies."

Pastor Jimmy Chalmers will tell anyone who will listen that the rumors about American Hero are false.

"It always seems to be this is happening somewhere else and we've heard of reprisals in other parts of the country, but I'm thinking, 'Wait a minute, this is in a place where I live. Not only is it in a place where I live, these are people I know,'" he said.

The owners of the restaurant say they fled Egypt in part because of religious persecution. They hope the people spreading these rumors will not force them to run again.

"They're no different than the terrorists that did the bombing," Elmenshawi said.

Elmenshawi, who is the co-owner of the store, says she has lived in the United States since she was in elementary school. She says she has family members who worked in the Twin Towers and managed to escape before they collapsed.


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