Even some fifty years after MLK’s Dream was heard across the nation, the racial dynamics of a country as complex as America are still muddled. Confusion abounds on all levels & in a nation most divided, MLK’s Dream lies in limbo, just as it has before…Many people of color, whichever color that may be, are uncertain what qualifies as progress in the race arena & what constitutes racial barriers being broken. Race is not nearly as clear-cut as the glass-ceiling theory for women which plagued our nation for years, but was no less important.
At the turn of the 21st Century, the local municipality constructed a glaring yellow monument at the entrance of Ciudad Juárez, symbolizing hope for future industrialization in a city wrought with corruption and a dark, secretive past. However, the people of Juárez set about constructing their own “monument”—a series of pink crosses memorializing “the Labyrinth of Silence,” a desolate area where hundreds of women have been “disposed” of over the last decade. Gazing across the Labyrinth, a “massive monument of Christ on the Cross” stands erect, symbolizing faith and protection (Rodriguez xi). Locals question if the victims have looked up toward that depiction of Christ’s suffering that towers above their brutally beaten bodies and pleaded for His mercy…This Mexican border-town, founded on prosperity and faith, is estranged from its original principles and has become known as the City of Lost Women.
Ciudad Juárez has been a city of nearly two million people living in fear for over a decade; after all, the city’s yearly death toll exceeded 1,900 by June, one hundred of which were women (“100 Women”). Nearly 620 women have been murdered since 1993, although officials claim the numbers are not even half that figure (Staudt 29). According to Alma Gomez of Justicia de Nuestras Hijas, when the murders began, “a woman was killed every twelve days…” (Operación Digna). Today, Juárez averages one woman dead for every eight days that passes. According to TheAmericano.com, an online publication focusing primarily on Latino issues, Ciudad Juárez is now the most murderous city in the world.
Border-towns are notorious for violence—they are the places where worlds collide, where the roles of men and women have long remained distinctly separate. “The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the First, and bleeds,” (Anzaldúa 3). Many blame machismo, the male-dominant repudiation of everything feminine, for the increased violence running rampant in these areas. Even after the maquiladoras, or U.S.-owned manufacturing factories, changed the typical role of women in Mexico, violence reigned; in fact, women becoming providers instead of sole caretakers completely defied the status quo of many Latin American countries. A promise of a future drove the women from surrounding areas of Mexico to the City of Industry—they “[came] hoping for the best, but often [found] the worst,” (Newton 3).
Nonetheless, as industry brought prosperity to dust-laden Ciudad Juárez, an increase of murders related to drugs and human trafficking occurred. However, in 1993 the pattern of murders changed drastically—there was a dramatic upswing in the number of young women found slain throughout the outskirts of the city. These women had been “raped, mutilated, crushed, strangled…some were even dismembered or burned alive,” (Washington). Their skin was marred with bite marks & they had deep slashes across their breasts. Bound with their own shoelaces & partially clothed, their shoes would be placed almost sentimentally beside their corpses—occasionally just bones, after desert jackals picked the flesh from their fragile bodies. “If you want to rape and kill a woman, there is no better place to do it than in Juárez,” said Esther Chávez Cano, founder of 8 de Marzo, in an opinion column during the fall of 1995. 8 de Marzo is a Juárez-based woman’s advocacy organization dedicated to rousing awareness of not only the killings, but also the corrupted officials (Rodriguez 72).
Alma Mireya Chavirria Farel’s name rings in infamy just across the southern border. Her tiny, brutalized body was discovered on January 23, 1993, making her the first documented victim of the Juárez serial murders (Newton 4). Alma was a 5 year-old child, found in the Campestre Virreyes district of Ciudad Juárez with deep slashes across her chest, evidence of sexual assault, and severe strangulation. The people of Juárez were so aghast at the brutality of the crime, that the authorities were essentially forced to acknowledge the presence of a “predator”—El Depredador Psicópata, who would become known as the “Juárez Ripper” (Newton 4). Twenty-one other women and young girls would meet their end that year, including a young woman who was set on fire and left to die (Valdez Appendix 2).
In 1994, police claimed there were eight murders in Ciudad Juárez with a similar modus operandi, and advised local women not to venture out alone (Newton 5). Just as had occurred during the previous year, an unidentified victim’s smoldering body was discovered semi-nude and strangled. Her shoes were placed “tenderly” beside her charred remains. The families of the murdered women were incredulous that authorities were not taking the cases more seriously. When a woman would go missing, the police would simply ask the family to come back in forty-eight hours and fill out paperwork…the investigations largely “concluded” at that point and the families were left to their own devices. Even after Chihuahuan officials were warned by their very own criminologist, Oscar Maynez Grijalva, that a group of serial killers were responsible for the slayings, police refused to take direct action. Between March and September of 1995, nineteen young women were found brutally raped and mutilated; consequently, the police department and Federal prosecutors came under extreme scrutiny from local families for “brushing off” the cases as the numbers continued to rise (Newton 5). Oscar Maynez Grijalva, who previously warned of the danger in ignoring the “signs” of serial murder, began to notice a distinct pattern in the bodies of the victims he was examining—in eight of the nineteen cases prior to September of that year, the victims’ right breast was removed and their left nipple bitten off (Newton 3). In the remaining months of 1995, another twenty-nine women would be murdered, bringing the grand total to forty-eight. As of July 2009, eight of the victims from 1995 remain buried in graves simply marked “Unknown,” (“2009-Femicides…”).
As pressure mounted, authorities made a stunning announcement in December 1995, sending a ripple of relief, although short-lived, through the communities of Juárez. Officials boasted to news outlets that an Egyptian-born scientist had been arrested for the murder of young Elizabeth Castro whose body had been found on August 19 alongside the Casas Grande Highway, just outside of Lote Bravo. They would subsequently name him as the “intellectual author” of at least thirteen other slayings (Rodriguez 43). Seventeen year-old Elizabeth Castro’s autopsy revealed wounds congruent with the previous victims’ injuries, as well as ligature marks from being bound with her own shoelaces. Sharif was charged with Castro’s rape and murder—authorities would announce that the female slayings were “solved.” Unfortunately, less than a month after “solving” the case of the Juárez Ripper, a stunning statistic was released to the media: in the past eleven months, 520 people had vanished from Juárez and an alarming, yet “important percentage of them [were] female adolescents,” (Newton 4).
By April 1, 1996 at least fourteen more girls were slain, including a fifteen year-old, again with identical injuries to those of the previous victims: a right severed breast, bitten-off left nipple, and a broken neck which had literally been yanked apart (Valdez 11). Police scrambled for answers as the people of Juárez grew impatient and they soon opted for placing additional blame on Abdel Latif Sharif, implying that he was the “mastermind” behind the murders. Curiously enough, a young woman identified merely as “Blanca” came forward to accuse Sharif of raping her in his home and threatening to “dispose of her corpse in Lote Bravo,” (Rodriguez 44). Unfortunately for Sharif, Lote Bravo was the “dumping ground” for multiple mutilated women in 1995, forty-five to be precise (Valdez 11). “Blanca” stood before the media and claimed to have been held hostage in Sharif’s home for at least three days. She described being raped repeatedly and later escaping through an upstairs window to contact authorities from a neighbor’s home (Rodriguez 13). Her story was never verified. Evidence against the Egyptian-national continued to mount when another woman, Erika Fierro, told police she’d introduced Sharif to nine of her girlfriends and hadn’t seen or heard from any them in months. Fierro would go on to claim that Sharif later told her he’d murdered them all, burying their bodies at Lote Bravo and threatening to do the same to Fierro if she disclosed his secret…(Valdez 215). Both women would “disappear” within a few weeks of releasing their statements, never to be heard from again.
As families of the missing women began to question the validity of the authorities’ sources, the local police grew frantic. They were struggling to maintain their story’s plausibility, not wanting to come across as incompetent investigators, but their efforts to calm the population would quickly be snuffed out. On April 8, 1996, Rosario Garcia Leal was found raped, strangled, and mutilated in a vacant lot. During the course of the investigation, Hector Olivares Villalba, a member of the local street gang Los Rebeldes, was brought in for questioning. Within a few short days Olivares Villalba would confess to the young woman’s murder. Only later would it come to light that rather than endure the “torture” that ran rampant through the police forces, Olivares would confess and claim that six other Rebels helped him “dispose of her body,” (Rodriguez 60). His confession would ultimately land El Diablo, the leader of the Rebels, in Mexican Federal prison. Sergio Armendariz Diaz, El Diablo, would remain in police custody for almost nine years, “awaiting trial” (Rodriguez 122). Eventually, two of the eight Rebels were released and in January of 2005, the six who remained were convicted of the murders of eight women who had been found in 1995 (Newton 8). The authorities also informed the media that Armendariz, whose bite impressions matched those found on multiple victims, plotted and conspired with the imprisoned Sharif to make it seem as if the Juárez Ripper was still at large (Rodriguez 123).
With the help of local women’s groups, poor practices in evidence collection were exposed and the Mexican government writhed under the pressure, blaming anyone they could. As the brutal killings continued, news outlets found their hands “tied” when they covered the murders and they were ultimately forced to report lower body counts for fear of retaliation by high-ranking members of the Mexican government (Newton 8). The media published each story with a statement declaring that an “unspecified number of women were still missing,” affectionately naming them Los Desaparecidos, or the Disappeared (Newton 8-9). Officials, thoroughly defensive, refused to allow the families of the Desaparecidos into view the bodies and identify their loved ones…Meanwhile the “corpses continued to pile up like cordwood,” (Rodriguez 69).
The stultifying desert heat and hellacious sand storms made searching for the missing women extremely perilous, but dedicated family members and concerned citizens continued to push forward. While conducting a community-organized searche during the summer of 1996, a small group made a stunning discovery when they stumbled upon a “wooden hut” in the middle of the desert (Rodriguez 134). The search party entered the shack to discover red and white candles, several women’s undergarments, and fingerprints which had been left behind in fresh blood. They also discovered a large wooden board with sketched pictures depicting gruesome scenes of torture and blood-letting of “naked women with flowing, dark hair.” An additional “shrine backdrop” depicted a group of “officials”—most prominently policemen and soldiers—surrounding a group of exposed women in a menacing fashion (Rodriguez 135). Their discovery would again shed light on a secret world within Mexico, a world America had long forgotten. In 1989, a Texas pre-Med student, Mark Kilroy, who had been vacationing for Spring Break, was found “sacrificed,” dismembered, and publicly displayed at a “cult ranch,” (Rodriguez 138). Authorities would later capture the killers only to discover that they were just the beginning…Ritualistic killings in Mexico, and most superstitious cultures, include switching the victims’ heads as well as mutilating their hearts and unfortunately, what was discovered in that tiny shack did nothing to disprove that horrifying reality (Rodriguez 140).
The young victims of Juárez were all petite and pretty with full lips and flowing dark hair. Their abductions, some during broad daylight, continued to frighten the people of Mexico’s leading industrial city. As investigators and families began to search for more distinct patterns in the disappearances, they noticed additional similarities between the cases…A sizable amount of the victims had been abducted from the lines of workers waiting to gain entrance to the maquiladoras. So was the case with a 22-year-old mother of two, Silvia Guadalupe Díaz (Rodriguez 69). She left her home on March 7, 1997, never to be heard from again. While her young husband tried desperately to involve authorities in her disappearance, four young girls were found raped, beaten, and strangled in the following ten days. Then, on March 29th, an agricultural worker discovered Díaz’s body just beside the Juárez Porvenir Highway in the Lote Bravo area. An autopsy would reveal that she had been dumped just a few hours after disappearing from her new job at a local maquiladora (Rodriguez 70). Unlike past months, the women found in March of 1997 all were found to have multiple puncture wounds across their necks; subsequently, investigators would begin to notice the already horrendous violence, escalate.
As the years passed with no significant strides of progress, frustrations grew astronomically among the families. They began to reach out to media sources, loudly expressing their belief that “…some people in power [were] more interested in covering up the crimes and shielding the perpetrators than in resolving the cases in any way that [could] bring peace of mind to the…bereaved,” (Rodriguez xi). The families also began to contact non-governmental organizations (NGO) outside of the State of Chihuahua, really stepping up the pressure for international recognition. Their efforts would prove partially rewarding on March 9, 2002, when a bi-national protest was organized by Texas lawmakers. The march began in the United States and continued over the Paso del Norte Bridge (Rodriguez 224). Nearly 2,000 people would participate…
In 2004, the number of slain women increased over 58% from the previous year drawing outrage from women’s organizations across the globe. On Valentine’s Day, “big-name stars from Hollywood” marched with thousands of Mexican protestors across the Santa Fe/Paso del Norte international bridge. “V-day…had been a worldwide event staged in tumultuous countries…to call attention to violence against women,” (Rodriguez 262). More astounding than international recognition alone, however, was that this protest involved two of Mexico’s top Federal prosecutors—Guadalupe Morfín and María López Urbina. The V-Day March was the first time two officials would publicly display their support for the people they were supposed to represent. As an active Federal prosecutor, María López Urbina would later identify “more than 125 former and current Chihuahua State Police officers…guilty of torture, abuse of power, and negligence” throughout the course of the investigations they conducted for the Juárez murders (Rodriguez 264). While reviewing 233 cases (104 of which had gone to trial), Urbina named only mid-level officials, twenty of whom quickly lost their jobs or were reassigned. As disappointing to the families as it was, Urbina would still fail to name any “high-ranking officials” who were, by law, responsible for “negligence” oversight and all other aspects of active investigations (Rodriguez 265).
The American media has largely neglected to mention the femicide occurring so close to home over the past decade. On October 16, 2009, TheAmericano.com published an article announcing the first “publicly displayed female decapitation” in the “City of Violence”—Ciudad Juárez. As horrifying as the recent events have been and even after desperate pleas for help from Mexican women’s groups, calls for aid have remained largely unnoticed. “We are asking for help…from experts who can create portraits of what the missing women would look like now…some of these women and girls have been missing for longer than two years,” said Alma Gomez of Operación Digna, during an interview in 2003. Gomez continued on to say that the Mexican people “would like the portraits of [their] missing daughters to be posted around…U.S. [cities],” so everyone would feel the terror [our] Mexican neighbors feel. Perhaps then something will be done… Additionally, within TheAmericano.com article was an admittance of the potential for ritualistic murders in Mexico. La Santa Muerte culture is a corrosive reality to anyone with an intimate knowledge of Mexico’s superstitious tendencies. Its practice encompasses a diverse mixture of twisted versions of Santería and the Aztec deities.
Nearly every street corner in Juárez shows signs of lost souls…Even the Paso del Norte Bridge bears the weight of hundreds of dead women. The massive wooden cross at the bridge’s entrance stands erect against the pale pink backdrop, punctured with more than a hundred nails. Each nail fastens in place a scrap of worn material with a name printed upon it, serving as a make-shift “missing person” poster. The sign—hanging just above the rugged cross—reads, “Ni una más…”—“Not one more…” (Valdez 75). Locals say that the Mexican revolutionary hero Benito Juárez weeps as he watches the beloved city he built as a symbol of prosperity and faith fill to the brim with injustice and mass slaughter. The cross at the bridge couldn’t be a more poignant reminder. Even as the number of victims continues to grow, seemingly unnoticed by the rest of the world, the families of the “daughters of Juárez” wonder if anyone is really listening…(Rodriguez xi). Some have even concluded that God has abandoned Juárez, but I would say that He watches with tear-stained cheeks, for it is not He who is lost in the hearts of the people of Juárez, but justice. Justice has abandoned Juárez.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1987. Print.
Chavez, Esther. “Violence Against Women in Chihuahua and Juárez.” Operación Digna. 19 Oct. 2003: n. pg. Print.
Newton, Michael. “Ciudad Juárez: The Serial Killer’s Playground.” TruTv. Turner Broadcasting Systems, 2009. Web. 21 Nov. 2004.
Rodriguez, Teresa. The Daughters of Juárez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Print.
Staudt, Kathleen. Violence and Activism at the Border: Gender, Fear & Everyday Life in Ciudad Juárez. Austin: Texas UP, 2008. Print.
Valdez, Diana Washington. Killing Fields: Harvest of Women. Washington D.C.: Peace at the Border, 2006. Print.
Washington, Diana. “Cosecha de Mujeres: El Safari mexicano.” La Jornada. DEMOS, 8 May. 2005. Web. 22 Nov. 2009.
“100 Women Killed in Ciudad Juárez in 2009.” TheAmericano.com. The Americano, 16 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2009.
“2009- Femicides in Ciudad Juárez.” Mexico Solidarity Network. Promet Host, 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009.
 es una herida abierta – “is an open wound”
 Ni una más– Not one more
The political future of Nevada’s “race-savvy” Senator Harry Reid hangs in the balance—a place he’s never quite been before—when a recent Las Vegas Review Journal poll showed that only a third of Nevada’s registered voters would vote in favor of his re-election if the 2010 election were held today.
Reid’s survival depends, like many Democrats up for re-election, on a few factors, among them his whimsical mouth and financial backing.
He’s no stranger to Freudian slips & definitely not to pre-orchestrated hate speech. He’s been well-known in Nevada for calling President Bush a “loser & liar” while giving a speech to schoolchildren; declaring his “undying” support for the “lost” war in Iraq; “supporting” local businesses by telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s director that he “hopes they go out of business;” exploiting the death of Senator Kennedy as a key means to “help” him pass Obamacare; and most recently, the GOP slave-master references…
Of course, these come as no surprise to Nevadans & we’re sure to see many more between now & the 2010 election. The question is how deep the lifeboat holding Nevada’s “representative” will sink…
According to that same LVRJ poll set, a whopping 53% of Nevadans polled do not support the health reform legislation Mr. Reid has proposed & supports. Only 39% of Nevadans are in favor, demonstrating a pretty significant drop in approval numbers since October when the split was 49% -40%.
So why, Senator Reid, do you continue to tout this bill (constantly in decline) as the Insurance of a Lifetime? Are you a representative of Nevada’s people or do you just work for the “Big Guy?”
Errr, wait—the ultra-Liberal left is always for the “forgotten man.” Point noted.
It could be said that Reid should focus a bit more on the state with the second highest unemployment rate in the nation from which he claims to sprout…But, perhaps he’s too distracted with fixing the housing crisis? Ooops, we lead the nation in foreclosures too. Oh, I got it! He’s focused on helping Nevadans keep more of the money we make with a serious return on our “investments!” Darn! It seems unfortunate that Nevadans get back 65 cents for every dollar we send to Washington…
Whilst your piggy-bank may be bursting at the snout, your coins & career are corroding as should be your pride. Senator Reid, your state is turning against you & the job-crushing, future-depriving proposals that you praise daily are in no way winning us back.
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment & did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.” –Saul Alinsky
To be a “radical” is increasingly more popular these days & it seems, dare I say, rewarded?
Despite murdering your fellow man & showing no remorse for your actions, you may be invited to speak to the youth of America or perhaps teach them, earning a tenured professorship…
So was the case with well-known radical William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, Nicholas De Genova, and many others—will we soon be adding another name to the list?
The United Freedom Front was a radical leftist organization (formed by two Vietnam Veterans while incarcerated) responsible for a string of bombings along the Eastern coast from 1975-1984 as well as the murder of New Jersey State Trooper, Phil Lamonaco & the attempted murder of 2 Massachusetts State Troopers.
One of the founders, Raymond Luc Levasseur, who spent 18 years in Federal Prison & was released in 2004, has been invited by the Dept. of Social Thought & Political Economy at University of Massachussetts to speak at the 5th Annual Colloquium on Social Change, this coming Thursday.
Levasseur’s writings can be viewed here, where he remarks, among many other things, on his “intellectual mentors” who include: Mao, Lenin, Marx, Che, Malcolm X, and the Black Panther Party.
Also speaking at the event will be Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage—a standard work to the commitment of Progressivism offering unapologetic explanations for the supposedly-misunderstood 1960’s destruction & radicalism—and who was also a participant in the infamous Columbia University “teach-in” with fellow Professor Nicholas De Genova who expressed his hope that American armed forces would be slaughtered by the masses in “a million mogadishus.”
The third speaker will be Raymond Mungo, an author, social worker, and founder of Liberation News Service (LNS)—an anti-war, left-leaning publication popular throughout the New Left movement of the 1960’s.
UMass had previously cancelled the speaking event last week after Governor Deval Patrick rightly condemned the speech, asking for the event’s cancellation as it was to be held on a public-funded campus and was degrading to the memory of Trooper Phil Lamonaco, as well as other members of law enforcement.
The University later rescheduled the event after an outburst of anger from the ACLU & other progressive campus groups who cited “anti-censorship” rules.
Donna Lamonaco, wife of the slain New Jersey Trooper, will be protesting the speech on campus.
So, please clarify…What is the definition of “academic freedom” and “anti-censorship”? Is it defined to specifically include, “those who are convicted of murder, violence, and acts of terror (both foreign & domestic) whom remain unremorseful?”
Aye, aye, aye America—what are we becoming?
It’s difficult for many of us with active-duty family members to put into words the pain that has been buzzing around our bodies & souls for most of today, & it’s next to impossible to rid ourselves of the bite that tears at hearts every time we learn of a newly fallen American.
Many in the media, as well as fellow bloggers, have been apt to focus primarily on the soldier who slaughtered those brave men & women on our own soil—I will choose a different road because what “type” of person Mr. Hasan is will become evident to all who don’t yet know in the near future, I’m sure.
Instead I will redirect focus to the soldiers & police who have lost their lives, to their families, and to those still serving.
Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there exists less and less discussion on our military—at first the transition was subtle, now it seems that only during certain times of the year are our brave men & women remembered, honored, and thanked.
It is a shame.
So here is my reminder:
They are AMERICANS too. They are the epitome of “patriotic” & to regard them as simply names on a page or a ticker running across the bottom of our television screen is one of the greatest injustices I can fathom.
“Through Amber Lenses” is a blog which was written by a soldier stationed in Iraq. Jordan was KIA a few months ago, September of 2009. His blog will clue you in…he was a person with hesitations, humor, wit, and frustration—he was an American.
I encourage you to read through some of his postings.
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
– The Soldier’s Creed
“I will never leave a fallen comrade…” The essence behind the actions of those who reportedly ripped off their own uniforms to aid the injured, those who ran INTO a building that everyone else was running away from…American Soldiers.
Life is precious & often times fleeting; our military & the families know this first hand.
Today’s fallen were Americans whose admiration and love for freedom—for liberty—outweighed their personal lives at times. Todays fallen were family members—spouses, children, friends…
They were heroes in their own right and like those who have passed before them, deserve to be remembered forever.
And for our leadership stateside, the message is this:
Many Americans struggle with the ugly realities of war—including those who serve & their families—but please do not allow those realities to cloud the fact that these men & women are protecting what they value—what we value—America.
When Americans, either at home or abroad, are being killed—particularly by our own—there is no place for political advancement or propagation. Serious times call for serious measures, as the saying goes.
Now is most definitely that time.
Now is the time to remember.
Finally, God Bless all the families of those Fallen & those currently serving. And God Bless all that aided (in any way) today at Ft. Hood. You are all in my prayers & I’m sure, the prayers of many.
God Bless America.
On Saturday evening the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will be celebrating its 15th anniversary as the apologetic-propagandist machine that it is. The notorious Rev. Jesse Jackson will be speaking at the banquet along with Imam Siraj Wahhaj of the Masjid Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York.
Born Jeffrey Kearse, the native-New Yorker is the “No. 1 advocate of radical Islamic ideology among African-Americans,” according to Stephen Schwartz of The Center for Islamic Pluralism. Schwartz also states that, “…His stuff is very appealing to young Muslims who are on a radical path…”
If this particular Imam’s name rings a bell, it’s likely a result of his testimony as a “character witness” in the case of the “blind sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of devising the plot to bomb the World Trade Centers in 1993. Although never formally charged, Wahhaj made the “list of unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators,” according to US Attorney Mary Jo White.
The Clarion Fund, who came to prominence in the public arena by way of their documentaries Obsession: Radical Islam’s War against the West & The Third Jihad, have called for the cancellation of the banquet.
So while this Imam’s presence may strike a chord with the average New Yorker, as most references to the WTC do post-9/11, should there be another reason behind that “twinge?”
The answer is yes.
It seems as though (in light of recent exposures by some in the press) people within the Obama administration who hold deep-seated ideological differences from many in America may be contributing drastically to the “fundamental Change” campaign that was promised. From the mouths of Presidential advisors have spewed hateful, anti-American rhetoric that would make the likes of Nancy Pelosi shutter, so the question that Americans should be asking themselves is how far this “Change” should be permitted to go from the Founder’s intentions.
A woman with relatively little media notoriety is the Obama administration’s Advisor on Muslim Affairs, Dalia Mogahed, who recently participated in a joint-interview on a British fundamentalist-Islam television network with Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, a member of the radical Islamist organization, Hizb ut Tahrir. Ms. Mogahed, with the backing of Dr. Nawaz, professed that “…the majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with Sharia’ah compliance…”
That’s right. According to her “scientific research” even Muslim-American women, who are the beneficiaries of many years of struggling against women’s past inequality, attribute gender justice with Sharia’ah compliance…We’ll touch on this again in a moment, but first let’s examine the type of thought that Ms. Mogahed sides with.
Hizb ut Tahrir, while only on a “watch list” in the US, has been designated a “Terrorist Network” in many countries for advocating the overthrowing of Capitalism & democracy as well as the imposition of a system of global Sharia’ah. Rather than condemning “Jihadist” viewpoints & actions, this group has been known to advocate for their use as a political means of progress, while not directly contributing to the killings.
Their organization has devised a strategy for implementing global Sharia’ah:
Stage #1- Culturing the masses to believe in an Islamic-world view by gathering them to form groups.
Stage #2- Interacting with “Ummah” so they will promote these ideas & join the cause.
Stage #3- Establish government, implementing Sharia’ah (generally & comprehensively) while continuing to carry its message to the rest of the world.
Their stratagem bears a striking resemblance to the Muslim Brotherhood’s (Ikhwan) 20 year plan to establish an “Islamic government on Earth”—the Project, available here both in its original form & as an English translation.
It’s largely up to the individual in determining the meaning behind her support of various organizations, but prior to her appointment as the Muslim Affairs Advisor, Ms. Mogahed was a member of the US Muslim Engagement Project (who holds strong, un-renounced ties to the Muslim Brotherhood). She currently serves as the Senior Analyst & Executive Director at the Center for Muslim Studies at Gallup and also directs the Muslim West Facts Initiative, a collaborative effort between Gallup & the London-based Coexist Foundation.
Back to Ms. Mogahed’s statement & assumed authority as described in the book she recently co-authored with John Esposito, “Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.” It’s important, when discussing her statement in the interview, to confront a common misconception made as a result of the vague generalities often associated with the topic of Sharia’ah. The primary one being that Sharia’ah deals with only certain legal matters (which to many Americans would likely encompass what we consider “civil law”), but one must understand that Sharia’ah is actually an entire way of life.
There was controversy which arose in Britain when it was suggested that Sharia’ah courts should prevail above British law when dealing with the British-Muslim population. The case was made by many “multiculturalism” defenders, both in the U.S. & abroad, that Sharia’ah courts were similar to Catholic marriage tribunals or Jewish family courts. The component of this argument which is consistently overlooked is that only Sharia’ah imposes its rule over every person living within the society, regardless of their faith or beliefs. Good examples of this would be the Islamic Republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia, both of which squeeze out & eliminate all other cultures. Therefore, when properly implemented, the result is absolutely no “freedom of religion” (or even from religion)—and in all honesty, there goes the Constitution as well.
The system of Sharia’ah instills both fear & dependence within many women who, when living under its rule, are brutalized by what is considered to be the “word of Allah.” Earning the verbal approval of any Muslim, when on a pre-slanted quest, doesn’t change the fundamental nature of Sharia’ah. When people are living in fear of being critical of their own system which gives a man the “divine right” to stone a woman to death, Ms. Mogahed is naïve at best to expect “honest” answers from the majority of the Muslim women she polled.
Fox News Host Glenn Beck has exposed radical ties for many within the administration’s network, including most recently Communications Director Anita Dunn, with her Maoist-admiration. Without the denial of these ties with any verifiable credibility (apart from sweeping “mistakes” under the rug), it’s only fair to question how much of Obama’s time Ms. Mogahed is occupying & how that will potentially impact future policy decisions.
Another nary discussed aspect of the “Change” Americans may need to pay attention to is the fusion of Islamic propaganda inside our educational system. It has continued to increase as the years have progressed as a result of the politically correct culture that’s overwhelmed American minds. Imagine Valerie Moore’s surprise when she pulled up to the front of her children’s school (Joseph Kerr Junior High School in Elk Grove, Ca) to find a banner loudly proclaiming that, “There is one God, Allah, & Mohammed is his prophet…”
Or perhaps a better example would be the lawsuit (3rd entry down in the archive) filed against Excelsior School in Byron, CA where students participated in a three-week “simulation” on Islam. “Islam: A Simulation of Islamic History & Culture” authored by the Council on Islamic Education, instructed the children to “…Analyze, explain, & recite the jihadist scripture:
‘Believers, why is it that when it is said to you—March in the cause of Allah—you linger slothfully in the land? If you don’t fight, He will punish you sternly & replace you with other men.’
They were also instructed to “profess” as “true” the Muslim belief that “The Holy Qur’an is God’s word.”
The Mission Viejo chapter of ACT! for America, a grassroots organization committed to Western values & democracy as well as their staunch opposition toward the “authoritarian values of Islamofascism,” recently compiled a special report, Islam in America’s Classrooms. It served as a one-stop source & in-depth look at the propaganda found in Junior High School textbooks across America, compiling information gathered by two committees established to review textbooks; they were responsible for detailing their findings on what is portrayed as “fact” in History classrooms across the U.S.—everything from generalities used to “whitewash” the often violent history of Islam; “half truths;” the liberal-myth of Islamic “multiculturalism & broad-mindedness;” and finally, the presentation of Islamic beliefs as facts while referring to all Judeo-Christian values as mere “emotional spirituality” which occasionally went as far as to actually demonize both Judaism & Christianity.
One of the committees, the Textbook League published “Reviewing ISLAM: A Simulation,” which was the unit that sparked the heated debate & eventual lawsuit against Excelsior School. An editor on the committee stated in his findings that, “…Page for page, this is the most malignant product that I’ve seen during all my years as a reviewer…”
They also published “How a Public School in Scottsdale, AZ Subjected Students to Islamic Indoctrination” detailing “blatant propaganda” from the popular middle-school textbook, “History Alive! The Medieval World & Beyond.”
When the American Textbook Council compiled a report in June of 2008 titled, “Islam in the Classroom: What the Textbooks Tell Us,” one of the editors stated that, “…the misinformation surrounding Islam & textbooks is disturbing more so because much of it is intentional.”
According to the study, the majority of the information being taught via textbooks fails to meet the “academic definition of history” defined by former-President Clinton’s mandate on guidelines for religious expression and tolerance in public schools.
Ironic since the phrase “under God” is such an elephant in the room during the Pledge of Allegiance…
Don’t ever assume that this type of “whitewashing” & propaganda exists only in primary schooling (K-12), in reality it runs rampant throughout the country when in fact many American universities & colleges either make use of textbooks which are written in a “propagandist”-style or employ professors who subscribe to these same schools of thought.
Here in Northern Nevada, Western Nevada College (WNC) uses “The Western Humanities: Volume I” for its Humanities 101 course; its text is not immune to this frightening phenomenon. Within the book’s eighth chapter, “The World of Islam,” it is stated as fact that, “…Muhammad, as the voice of Allah, was a ruler & not a consensus builder & Islam…the only source of spiritual & secular authority.” Another passage uses the phrase “in the name of Allah” as an indication of Allah’s blessing for the remainder of the chapter’s text, doing so in a way that doesn’t seem to actually enhance the student’s understanding, but instead operates as both “normal” and “factual.” (Underline mine.)
Two commonly glamorized professors—Rashid Khalidi & Joseph Massad, both of whom are tenured at prestigious-elite Columbia University & are outspokenly opposed to not only Israel, but also America.
Professor Massad received a review for a class he instructs that was anything but praiseworthy in which a former student stated:
“This was possibly the most offended I`ve ever been. Massad does not even pretend to give the entire picture, he states that on the first day. Besides being offensive, is it really worth it to take a class that doesn`t tell you both sides of a controversy? I worry about the people who enter the class with little to no knowledge of the topic and form their opinions based on Massad`s lectures and assigned readings. Massad also doesn`t allow students to finish their questions before answering them. The class is taught unethically, and should be renamed “Why Palestinians Hate Israel.” In sum, it sucks to take a class and walk away not feeling like you can form an educated opinion. It also sucks when your professor, (in my opinion) lies and even after being proven wrong by students, continues to lie.”
Rashid Khalidi recently served as a “moderator” for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) “forum” hosted by Columbia University during which he allowed his divine moderation skills to overcome him by reiterating his fellow Western-destructionists’ views of both Israeli & Western policy.
Another “expert” professor at the same forum reportedly “joked” with the commissioner general of UNRWA stating that he was baffled as to why she hadn’t yet “sprouted horns” for incorporating Holocaust studies into UNRWA’s school curriculum.
All of these issues are alarming, but particularly in a country said to be so united behind “Hope & Change.” Many, I’m sure, will ignorantly label this as another “right-wing extremist,” anti-Muslim diatribe, but nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is not Islam as a religion, but rather the forced conversion that groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir (and quite possibly people affiliated with the current Obama administration) would like to implement. It is not to say that Sharia’ah is “coming to a town near you,” but it is to bring to light the stark contrasts between American value systems & those of other cultures. An informed people are a strong people, after all. Additionally, it’s irresponsible of Dalia Mogahed (or any woman who has fulfilled her career-ambitions while openly practicing her Muslim faith or any other faith for that matter) to espouse an oppressive system which stands in stark contradiction to the very values every American enjoys; in this country we value human rights for all, not exclusively for men and therefore, the often violent edicts of Sharia’ah as the epitome of “gender justice” does not apply. Ms. Mogahed’s words should be infuriating feminists & human rights activists across this country. Instead…there’s a deafening silence. There is a difference between being a cultured society that is acceptant of others & having a “fundamental change” forced upon an unsuspecting nation in an attempt to completely destroy the fabric of our country. So, it seems that the puzzle for many who advocate for “change” is being mindful of the balance…
If you are interested in more perspectives dealing with this topic, I would refer you to Dr. M. Zudhi Jasser’s article, “The Un-fought War on Islamism: To Stay Civilized & Free, We Can’t Be Ignorant.”
The Reno Chapter of ACT! for America can be reached via email: ACT-NNv@callhsb.com
I received this via email earlier this morning & for the life of me could not get it out of my head. It’s a clear & sobering reminder that walks hand in hand with the events of the last week or so.
Take a moment & read Brigitte’s letter…then, I encourage you to visit the website.
Remember the fallen soldiers & honor them as Nevada welcomes home one of our own, Pfc. Thomas Lyons who leaves behind a wife & 3-month old baby.
God bless everyone fighting for freedom in America & abroad.
Remembering a Fallen Soldier…
Remembering What We Are Up Against and Why We Must – and Will – Prevail
by Brigitte Gabriel
I don’t believe I’ve ever written a letter quite like this to you before.
Indeed, it is difficult to write this without tears welling up in my eyes.
It started as a rainy Friday morning in late August. I was flying from my presentation in Springfield, Missouri, to my next destination connecting through Atlanta. Little did I know that what I was about to experience that day was going to shake me to the depth of my soul, inflame my passion for our country (I didn’t think it was possible to be more passionate) and remind me why ACT! for America is so important to our security and the future of America.
I looked out my window at gloomy Atlanta as the plane took off, closed my eyes and pictured home and my loving family meeting me at the airport with open arms, smiles and kisses, waiting to whisk me off to Outback Steak House for dinner as planned.
It was a quiet, uneventful flight. No beverage service. No announcements from the captain — until we landed at our final destination:
“Welcome to “…….” . Ladies and Gentleman we have a special request to ask of you. We are carrying on this plane today a fallen soldier brought home from Afghanistan. His body is accompanied by Sgt. “……”. Please kindly allow Sgt. “….” to deplane first so he can do his job in escorting the body below. We will leave the seat belt sign on until the body has been taken off the plane. Then when the seat belt sign is turned off, you can deplane.”
The plane continued slowly down the runway as the captain’s shocking announcement reverberated among the passengers. As we taxied closer to our gate, tears began to flow as we saw a police car, a military hearse, and a team of Marines standing in formation waiting to carry the body. And the saddest scene of all — his family, wife and children, all lined up against the wall waiting for him.
Burning tears were flowing down my face as my heart sank into utter pain and agony at such a sight. We always hear about this on the news and feel sad but to experience it in person is completely different. We pulled up to our gate and Sgt. “….” stood up in all his gloriously decorated uniform, opened up the overhead compartment carrying a folded American flag and a back pack, and started walking out of the plane amid the clapping and tears of all of us on board.
No one in the plane even touched their cell phone. People were transfixed, staring out the window, sharing our respect and sorrow.
At that moment we were not Democrats, Republicans or Independents. We were Americans soberly watching one of our own come home in a coffin draped with an American flag.
As they removed the body from the plane, two men holding his wife started walking towards the plane as the wife covered her face and began sobbing. She was followed by her children. The Marines walked in formation and carried his body to the hearse.
We started getting out of our seats and deplaning without a word from anyone except the sounds of crying coming from different people looking out the window as they walked out of the plane.
As I entered the airport, people were standing in lines and rows facing the window watching all this. Some men were saluting the body. We all stood next to each other, honoring this soldier until his body was finally in the hearse and he was driven off the tarmac.
It was the most sobering, heartbreaking, and patriotic scene. As I cried for the following few hours sitting with my family at home eating Chinese take-out for dinner (I just wasn’t up to going out for dinner), I was reminded of why we need to continually remind Americans that we are at war.
Our men and women are fighting and dying overseas to protect America from an enemy who is not only fighting us across the globe but also advancing here at home. Just because we have not been successfully attacked at home doesn’t mean our enemy has forgotten about us. Their tactics have become more sophisticated. They not only wish to attack us militarily, they are moving at full speed in the advance of their cultural Jihad invading America. Islamic foot-washing basins in airports; Shariah finance being introduced by American banks; college campuses designating Islamic prayer rooms for Muslims only; Islamic compounds practicing Shariah law springing up across America; public schools using our tax dollars to indoctrinate American students into Islam; demands by Muslim parents that their children be provided private prayer rooms in their public schools; Muslim workers demanding special workplace accommodations no other religious person would ask for; and the list goes on.
As history demonstrates, only organized resistance will stop this. Unopposed by organized resistance, the advance of cultural Jihad in Europe has proceeded to the point that many think a full-blown “Eurabia” is inevitable and irreversible. And even if we win the war against Islamic terrorism, but lose the struggle against cultural Jihad here at home, we may protect our safety but lose our liberties and our way of life.
I just don’t believe this young man who fell on the field of battle would consider that a victory. “Freedom” is not just freedom from the physical harm our Islamist enemies want to inflict on us. It is freedom from the tyranny and oppression of shariah Islamic law and the supremacist political ideology our enemies are determined to impose upon us.
So, just as that soldier was on the front lines of this war overseas, we are on the “front lines” here at home. That soldier was part of the “organized resistance” in Afghanistan. We are part of the “organized resistance” here in America. We cannot afford to fail in our military missions overseas. Failure would embolden and empower Islamists throughout the world. We also cannot afford to fail here at home.
This is why I appeal to you to take heart and help me continue building ACT! for America. We are the only nationwide organized resistance to this threat. As I said, we are the front lines here at home. Our families, our communities and our nation are depending on us, even though many do not yet realize it.
For instance, two years ago ACT helped pass the bill in Congress that protects every citizen from lawsuits when they report suspicious activity in public places.
How many Americans know this happened? Very few. Yet they are now protected from lawsuits, which means America is safer as a result.
I know there are other issues right now, such as health care and the economy, that are dominating the attention of the American people. And I understand why that is. But for those of us, you and me, who grasp the seriousness of the threat of radical Islam, we must continue to do everything we can to make sure that the reason 9/11 occurred is not forgotten. That the reason we are fighting in Afghanistan is not forgotten.
We must continue to push forward, to inform, organize, and ring the alarm bells, even when it feels like a lot of people aren’t paying attention right now or don’t seem to “get it.” Because there are many good Americans out there ready to respond to our message, if we can only get it to them.
Because we are the modern “Paul Revere’s,” the messengers who are warning America even when a lot of America is preoccupied with other matters. It is estimated that over 2/3 of the colonists either were loyal to Britain or were indifferent to the political struggles the colonies were experiencing in 1776. Yet, through the leadership and sacrifice of the remaining colonists, independence was declared and Britain was defeated.
How I wish I could be standing in your presence this very moment, to grasp your hands, look into your eyes, and say “be encouraged!” We will win this struggle against radical Islam. It won’t be tomorrow, or next year, but we will, in time, prevail — so long as good, patriotic Americans like you do not lose hope and keep taking action. We are winning victories, and we will continue to win more – and bigger – victories, so long as good, patriotic Americans like you do not lose hope and keep taking action. Let’s remember how far we have come together. In less than two years we have built the largest grassroots organization in America dedicated to combating the threat of radical Islam, with 62,000 members and 315 local chapters. Be encouraged!
I want to close with this.
Last week, when Guy Rodgers and I were at the EMP conference in Niagara, NY, the president of a national security organization sat down with us and thanked us profusely for what ACT! for America is doing and has already accomplished. I wish you could have seen his face and heard his words. This is a man who has served at high levels of government and been around Washington politics for decades. His message to us – and ultimately to you – was that ACT! for America is KEY to all our efforts to defeat radical Islam. He has watched us grow, witnessed our activism, and rejoiced for our victories. So I’ll say it again. Be encouraged!