Arab-American Group to Protest 'Offensive' Masks

From Associated Press

An Arab-American organization said Friday that it will boycott and picket outlets of a national novelty company it says reneged on a decision to recall two Halloween masks the group finds offensive.

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said its members will demonstrate this weekend at outlets of Spencer Gifts because the company has decided to put back on the market its "Sheik" and "Arafat" Halloween masks.

Ronald Mangel, Spencer's general counsel, said in a letter to Faris Bouhafa, AAADC spokesman, that John Hacala, Spencer's president, "after re-reviewing the 'Sheik' and 'Arafat' masks and discussing the look of the masks with others, has decided to put the masks back on sale today."

His letter added, "We will not reorder the masks for next year."

The Pleasantville, N.J., company, which is owned by MCA Inc. of Los Angeles, had earlier this month withdrawn the masks for sale at its 435 outlets after a three-day protest and telephone campaign by the committee.

Efforts to contact Spencer officials for comment were unsuccessful.

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