One of the claims made by liberals who supported the recent shutdown of the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance strategy was that it didn’t make any difference in protecting the city, but a former officer in the police department begs to differ. Paul J. Browne, the former NYPD deputy commissioner for public information, wrote in a New York Post article about several examples of the unit’s success in preventing violent acts against the city.
Below, Raees Alam Qazi (left) is accused of planning to bomb a crowded area of New York City along with his brother Sheheryar Alam (right) in revenge for drone attacks in their native Pakistan. The Florida residents were located because the NYPD knew where to look for them in the city.
Federal agents knew that a would-be terrorist had likely arrived in New York City from Florida over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012. However, they didn’t know where in New York City he was — a worrisome prospect, considering that Raees Alam Qazi was gathering information on the best places to detonate bombs in Manhattan, Times Square and Wall Street among them.
The NPYD’s Intelligence Division, it turned out, knew exactly where to look — because it already knew places in the metro area that might be inclined to open their doors for the night to a cash-strapped transient enamored with al Qaeda. It then sent an NYPD undercover officer into one of those locations and confirmed Qazi’s presence there. That allowed federal authorities to initiate surveillance and arrest Qazi on terrorism charges as he stepped off a bus in Ft. Lauderdale on his way home soon thereafter.
Similarly, as Seth Lipsky reported in Thursday’s Post, had the Boston marathon bombers made it to New York with their explosive devices, the NYPD would’ve been in a good position to know where to look for them because of some mapping it had done in Brighton Beach and elsewhere.
These assessments of where a terrorist might land in order to find as cheap place to stay, a job off the books, an Internet café or even a restaurant for comfort food, were done by a small NYPD unit initially called the Demographics Unit and later the Zone Assessment Unit — which was dismantled last week.
The unit never had more than 14 police officers assigned to it in a department of 35,000 officers. None were undercover officers, although some undercovers were later employed in areas that detectives in the unit had mapped. The officers assigned to the unit didn’t infiltrate terrorist groups or spy on them. They provided investigators who did with road maps as to where terrorists might gravitate in the metropolitan area in advance of an attack or to hide after one.
Breathless reporting has asserted that police “admitted” that the unit hadn’t developed terrorist leads. That’s like saying Derek Jeter “admitted” to having never scored a touchdown. Right church; wrong pew: It was never the unit’s job. Instead, the unit complemented, in a very specific way, the work of the approximately 1,300 NYPD officers assigned to counterterrorism duties every day. Continue reading this article
In advance of the Boston Marathon run on Monday with police-state security measures following last year’s jihad bombings, local media sought to comfort local Muslims that they were not under suspicion in an article titled, “Inclusive spirit reassures Muslims after bombings” (linked below).
The caption of the article’s first photo: “Hamza Syed braced for an anti-Muslim backlash that never happened.”
Below, one explosion at last year’s Boston Marathon.
Despite the lack of lynch mobs or other backlash against Muslims after 9/11 and other Islamic attacks, the Allah bunch residing in America complains that their sensitive feelings are hurt by surveillance and other normal precautions to having a gaggle of potential enemies living in the country.
Why do Americans feel they have to “reassure” Muslims of goodwill? On the contrary, Muslims should be trying to convince Americans that they are not murderous religious fanatics. Allah’s gangsters have killed Americans on our own soil in the thousands, yet we are supposed to feel guilty for not trusting Muslims.
Some will fall under the swoon of Islamic teachings, and part of the modern jihad message is the alleged victimhood of Muslims worldwide, even though they are usually the perps. Here in America, CAIR urges Muslims to report the slightest affront as a hate crime, following the victim theme. In fact, FBI statistics for years show that Jews are five times more likely to be victims of hate crimes than Muslims, who are down the list.
The 2014 budget for the Department of Homeland Security was $49.7 billion. Remember that the DHS was organized as a response to the 9/11 attacks, even though hundreds of billions were already spent on the Pentagon which was supposed to protect America.
One could reasonably regard the $49.7 billion DHS budget as one cost of Muslim immigration. Are the felafels worth it? Why does America continue to allow Muslim immigration?
As for the article about adorable Muslims, brace for extensive silliness. My favorite (bad) remark is from a Muslim who apparently has not read the Koran and its 100+ exhortations to violence against infidels: “Now, when an act of terror occurs, people can see it for what it is: someone exploiting religion, someone with serious issues.”
No, doofus, the jihadists are following their religion!
Sept. 11, 2001, ruptured 13-year-old Hamza Syed’s world. Being Muslim instantly became the only part of his identity that seemed to matter; kids at his school in Lynn besieged him with questions he could not answer. He had immigrated to the United States from Pakistan at age 3, but he no longer felt allowed to call himself American.
A year ago, after the Boston Marathon bombings, Syed braced himself for another anti-Muslim backlash. It never happened.
“I grew up being an outsider, feeling like an outsider, and there wasn’t any moment really after the Boston Marathon where I had that feeling of being an outsider again,” he said. “I grieved with everyone. . . . I could understand their feelings, and they could understand mine, without there being an asterisk next to it.”
On Monday, Syed expects to run the Boston Marathon for the first time, an act he sees as an expression of his love for his resilient city and for its embrace of diversity.
“That is what the Boston Marathon this year is really going to be about,” he said. “I want to say that I was there, that I took part in it.”
To be sure, there were isolated displays of Islamophobia in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings. A woman wearing a hijab was assaulted on a street in Malden. Strangers sent hateful e-mails to Boston’s mosques. Some Muslims feared being questioned by law enforcement or seethed over a tabloid’s portrayal of two innocent Massachusetts men as possibly connected to the bombings.
But the broader tableau showed a city that has become more welcoming of Muslims in the years since the 2001 attacks, many local Muslims said. The scale of the two tragedies was very different, but many Muslims said improved interfaith cooperation and increasingly diverse schools and workplaces contributed to a change in tone. It also seemed, they said, that their non-Muslim neighbors had grown more knowledgeable and less fearful in a dozen years of discussing terrorism, war, national security, and religious liberty in the public square.
“Now, when an act of terror occurs, people can see it for what it is: someone exploiting religion, someone with serious issues,” said Jalon Fowler, a 38-year-old Muslim who ran in last year’s Marathon and will compete again this year.
After the Marathon bombings, many Muslims said they felt reassured by gestures of support and concern from friends and coworkers, from local politicians and clergy of other faiths. Bostonians, they said, seemed to understand that most Muslims were as horrified at the violence on Boylston Street as everyone else was.
“There is never a silver lining to mass murder, or attempted mass murder,” said Imam William Suhaib Webb, spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, the city’s largest mosque. “But what we learned is, this is a really great city with incredibly sincere people.
“It was like, we’re together, we all anguish about what happened, and we are going to try to speak to the problem together.”
Mosque fears eased Greater Boston’s two most prominent mosques were inundated with press calls and television cameras after the bombings, especially the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, where suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev occasionally worshipped.
Ismail Fenni, acting imam of the Cambridge mosque, tried to field reporters’ questions and to respond to the stunned congregation, few of whom had known the Tsarnaevs.
At the time, Mohammed Faysal Himon said he should find another job since he couldn’t handle the stress of taxi driving in New York City. (Anger management can be a cultural problem among Muslims.)
But now he is back driving, endangering New Yorkers. Apparently the NYC government cannot take a dangerous foreign cabbie off the roads, even though the city faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of Mohammed’s inability to control himself.
Cabby Mohammed Faysal Himon sheared off the foot of a British tourist in a grisly accident at Rockefeller Center last August, but despite the ordeal — and a claim that he didn’t want to drive a cab anymore — he’s been back behind the wheel of a taxi for months, The Post has learned.
Since Feb. 14, Himon, 24, has been driving a yellow cab out of 28th Street Management, a leasing agent operating out of a Tenth Avenue storefront in Manhattan, according to Taxi and Limousine Commission records.
“He has been driving regularly, uneventfully — thank God — and just doing what he has to do,” Himon’s lawyer, Cynthia Fisher, told The Post.
Himon was driving on Sixth Avenue on Aug. 20, 2013, when his cab jumped the curb and slammed into Sian Green, 25, who was with a friend at West 49th Street.
The horrific accident cost the Leicester beauty queen her left foot and later her leg below the knee.
Himon claimed he was cut off by cyclist Kenneth Olivo, 41, and lost control of his cab after he tried to zip ahead of the pedal pusher.
After the accident, the TLC suspended Himon’s license for 30 days, and he was slapped with a summons for operating a cab he was not authorized to be driving.
But since neither the Manhattan district attorney nor the NYPD filed criminal charges against Himon, the agency reinstated his license, which he claimed last Sept. 26. The TLC — which has vowed to take new steps to keep dangerous drivers off the road — did ask Himon to voluntarily surrender his license, but he refused, an agency spokesman said. Continue reading this article
At the turn of the last century there were nearly 2 million Orthodox Christians in Turkey; 1.5 million were expelled in 1923, and another 150,000 left after violent anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in 1955.
Today, in all of Turkey, there are only 4,000 Orthodox Christians left. [. . .]
[Guide Sevim] Karabiyik told us, much to our surprise, that the four gospels were written in Turkey and that three of the apostles spread the word there.
Even Jesus’ birthplace, Bethlehem, is now a Muslim town with only about 15 percent Christians, although Muslims hope some Christians remain so tourists won’t be uncomfortable.
Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews.
This week, as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday, they are commemorating the Bible’s Exodus story describing a series of plagues inflicted on ancient Egypt that freed the Israelites, allowing them to make their way to the Holy Land. But over the past century, another exodus, driven by a plague of persecution, has swept across the Middle East and is emptying the region of its Christian population. The persecution is especially virulent today.
The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East’s population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.
In the rubble of Syrian cities like Aleppo and Damascus, Christians who refused to convert to Islam have been kidnapped, shot and beheaded by Islamist opposition fighters. In Egypt, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood members burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way they once obliterated Jewish synagogues. And in Iraq, terrorists deliberately target Christian worshippers. This past Christmas, 26 people were killed when a bomb ripped through a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in Baghdad’s southern Dora neighborhood.
Christians are losing their lives, liberties, businesses and their houses of worship across the Middle East. It is little wonder that native Christians have sought refuge in neighboring countries—yet in many cases they find themselves equally unwelcome. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-thirds of Iraq’s 1.5 million Christians have been driven from their homes. Many settled in Syria before once again becoming victims of unrelenting persecution. Syria’s Christian population has dropped from 30% in the 1920s to less than 10% today. Continue reading this article
Taxpayer-supported state colleges are supposed to provide a higher education at a reasonable cost to the young people who are residents. That’s why in-state students get lower subsidized tuition than outsiders.
As a result of University of California accepting fewer state students by design, officials said they expect that 13% of all undergraduates will be from outside California in the fall, up from 12% this year and just 5% four years ago.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — More Latino than white students in California have been offered admission to the state’s premier public universities for the first time, officials said Friday, a milestone that reflects the diverse racial makeup of a state where Latino children represent a majority of students in public schools.
Preliminary admissions data show that 17,589 Latino students have been accepted as freshmen at one of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses for the fall, or 29 percent of all 61,120 in-state applicants who were offered a spot. That compares to 16,378 white residents, who made up 27 percent of the admitted applicants.
Asian Americans remained the largest single ethnic group represented in the accepted freshman class, making up 36 percent of all Californians admitted. Black students received 4 percent of the admission offers.
Campaign for College Opportunity Community Affairs Director Audrey Dow called the growing share of Latino students qualifying for a UC education “a positive trend.”
“It is really encouraging and emphasizes that Latinos want to go to college,” Dow said. “Latino families, Latino students understand the value of an education and are doing what they need to do to be competitive and eligible for the most rigorous system in the state.”
University officials said that competition to get into a UC school remained stiff, a situation they tried to address by making room for more students. A record 86,865 students from California, out-of-state and abroad were accepted, or 58 percent of all 148,688 applicants. By comparison, the system had a 68 percent acceptance rate for Fall 2011. The new numbers are a sign of how much harder winning a spot has become.
Of the ones who got lucky in the admissions lottery this year, 25,745, or 30 percent of the accepted freshmen, are from out-of-state or are international students. The percentage of UC students who are not state residents has risen steadily in recent years as officials have tried to offset cuts in state funding with the higher tuition nonresidents pay. Continue reading this article
Karma is sweet. After Shaima Alawadi was found dead in her southern California home with a note nearby telling the Iraqi refugee to go home, Muslims, leftists and the media went into full shriek mode about horrible violent Americans, particularly those critical of Islam. Oh, the terrible Islamophobia!
Are all violent Iraqi families also drama queens? The Alhimidi bunch certainly is, shown by the courtroom scene following the verdict on Thursday, where family members screeched at each other about their opinion of Alhimidi’s guilt. Not all agreed with American justice.
The trial seems like it was a pretty big deal in El Cajon judging by the news coverage. Even fake hate crimes attract interest.
Kassim Al-Himidi 49, is convicted of fatally beating his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32, in March 2012 in a case originally thought to be a hate crime
A broken family’s screams erupted in a San Diego courtroom after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of an Iraqi immigrant who killed his wife.
As the defendant cried out in Arabic “not guilty,” his mother-in-law flailed her arms, screaming “you killed my daughter,” while his two teenage sons chose opposing sides.
Jurors found Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, guilty in the death of his wife Shaima Alawadi — a bloody, brutal beating once considered a hate crime that was, in the end, an act of domestic violence.
After Judge William McGrath handed off the verdict for reading, several family members began screaming, including the defendant’s oldest son, who yelled profanities, saying he disagreed with the jury’s verdict.
“This is bulls—!” This is f—ing bulls—!” the son yelled. “My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly.”
Al-Himidi smirked, crossed his arms, shook his head, wagged his finger and began praying as the jury was polled one by one. At one point, he put his head on the table in front of him. Then, he too began yelling.
According to a translator, Al-Himidi screamed out in Arabic, “God knows I’m not the killer. I’m not the killer! I’m innocent. Not guilty.”
As deputies rushed to place handcuffs on Al-Himidi, he continued to yell, telling his family to seek international help on this case and have investigators look at it as a hate crime. He said to get him help from overseas to get him out of jail, the translator said. Continue reading this article
New Yorkers now face a city government whose handling of public safety is politicized, where certain groups get special treatment and consideration of the general good is a non-priority. But they voted for it.
If America didn’t have an immigration policy that welcomes likely enemies (e.g. Muslims), then it wouldn’t be necessary for police to snoop in order to prevent terror attacks. But elites have declared that extreme diversity is virtuous so we must have more of it, even when the policy endangers the public.
NEW YORK – The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage.
The surveillance program by the NYPD Intelligence Division had come under fire by community activists who accused the department of abusing civil rights.
The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques. The tactic was detailed in a series of stories by The Associated Press and became the subject of two federal lawsuits.
In a series of articles that began in August 2011, the AP documented that police had systematically spied on Muslim neighborhoods, listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to watch communities where terror cells might operate. Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism or crime.
The investigation revealed that then-police Commissioner Ray Kelly had brought in a CIA official to help develop an intelligence division unlike that of any other U.S. police department. It assigned people called rakers to ethnic neighborhoods, infiltrating enterprises ranging from booksellers to cafes, and people called mosque crawlers to Muslim houses of worship. Continue reading this article
On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and seriously injuring 264 including 14 persons losing limbs. It’s likely the casualty list would have been longer if not for the many medically trained people at the race finish who provided excellent first aid to the injured in the early minutes.
Another casualty was young MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was murdered later by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when the brothers were trying to escape.
We found that several red flags and warnings were missed. We found that Tamerlan was on the radar of the FBI and somehow dropped off. We found that Tamerlan travelled to Dagestan, known for its Chechen terrorists. This is precisely what the Russian letter warned our Intelligence Community and FBI about. He came back even more radicalized. We also found that unfortunately Customs, FBI, and the IC somehow missed it. Arrogantly, some US officials said “It would not have made a difference” if they had known about his overseas travel. We now know that a check of his public social media would have shown indicators such as Jihadists video postings. His Mosque had seen escalating behavior as well. It likely would have been clear that he was becoming more and more of a threat to the community.
Which takes me to me to my last point: State and Local police have a strong role in Counter Terrorism. They know the streets better than anybody and they know the local threats. The Boston Police Department should have been given more information throughout the entire process. They must know the terror threats in their own backyards. This process in my judgment has to change.
Meanwhile, the administration does not like the “T” word applied to its watch. Monday’s Statement by the President referred to the attack as a “tragedy” and emphasized the heroic response of Bostonians.
Robert Spencer reviewed the event and focused on FBI dereliction — even though the government allowing Muslim immigration to continue is the worst failure:
With the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings now here (April 15), the New York Times made yet another attempt to exonerate the Obama Administration of responsibility for one of its manifest failures, claiming that an inspector general’s report on the bombings was an “exoneration of the F.B.I.,” as it showed that “the Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack.”
See? The bombing was all the fault of that scoundrel Putin. It had nothing to do with the FBI, because of fecklessness and political correctness, failing to act properly on information the Russians gave them.
Full disclosure: I used to give FBI agents and other law enforcement and military personnel training on the teachings of Islam about jihad warfare against and subjugation of non-Muslims, so that they would understand the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy the United States as a free society, and be better equipped to counter them. I provided this training free of charge, out of a sense of patriotic duty, and it was well received: I received certificates of appreciation from the United States Central Command and the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group.
But as I explain in detail in my book Arab Winter Comes to America, all that ended on October 19, 2011, when Islamic supremacist advocacy groups, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, demanded that FBI counter-terror trainers (including me) and training materials that referred to Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism be discarded, and agents educated by them be retrained. John Brennan, then the U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and now the director of the CIA, readily agreed in a response that was written on White House stationery – thereby emphasizing how seriously the Obama Administration took this demand. Continue reading this article
The Washington Post is a big supporter of extreme diversity and other liberal causes like refugee resettlement. On Monday, it presented a curiously mixed smorgasbord on French politics. The front page below the fold had a piece on France’s Marine Le Pen, noting her “gentler nationalism” in the headline. The photo was quite flattering — and the media can smear anyone they dislike with a crappy picture, but didn’t in this case.
The article contained the usual liberal assumptions that those on the right are xenophobic and suffer from “Islamophobia” (an accusation created by Islamists to smear Westerners who understand the threat of jihadists).
Still, the biased article was balanced by a Q & A with Le Pen where she could respond to the various charges (included below). She wants national sovereignty returned to France and believes immigration should be ended because of the conflict it engenders.
PARIS — From her nondescript offices in the Paris suburbs, Marine Le Pen — the blond, hazel-eyed face of France’s far right — is leading the charge to build a new alliance of European nationalists, this time by blitzing the ballot box.
A 45-year-old lawyer who wants to halt immigration, Le Pen led France’s National Front to historic gains in local elections last month. She did it by destigmatizing the party co-founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen, her 85-year-old father, who once called the Nazi gas chambers a mere ”detail” of history and lost five bids for the French presidency.
In appearances across the country, the younger Le Pen is rolling out a more tempered brand of nationalism that has become a new model across Europe, rejecting her father’s overt racism and playing down the party’s former links to Nazi collaborators. All the while, she is tapping into the rising economic despair of a nation as well as a backlash against the European Union, the 28-country bloc headquartered in Brussels.
Now she is training her sights on a larger prize. From Sweden to Austria, Britain to Italy, nationalist and far-right parties are poised to make record gains next month in elections for the European Parliament. Rather than see their power diluted, Le Pen is seeking to unite a variety of such parties into an extraordinary coalition of anti-E.U. nationalists.
Together, she said, they would work to turn back the clock on the integration and open borders that have defined post-World War II Europe. “You judge a tree by its fruit,” she said last week in her office, a statuette of the Greek goddess of justice resting on a shelf above her. “And the fruits of the E.U. are rotten.”
But these are, after all, nationalists, and forging an international alliance of xenophobes is proving to be just as hard as it sounds. On a continent riddled with old grudges and the ghosts of battles past, working together — for some, anyway — means setting aside centuries-old animosities. Continue reading this article
He discussed the book on CBN Monday, the day of the book’s release.
There’s a lot to admire about Spencer’s scholarship, although he curiously didn’t mention diverse Muslim immigration as a major transporter of jihad around the world in his interview on CBN. How does he think it gets here? (Amazon does’t have its “look inside” feature hooked up yet, so the inquiring reader can’t check the index for listings of immigration.)
The spring sailing season is getting off to a roaring start in the Mediterranean, where 18,000 diverse welfare seekers from Africa and the Middle East have boarded boats headed to soft-touch Europe since the beginning of this year.
Of course, the number of boaters using the Italy doorway have been accumulating including 43,000 in 2013, because it’s geographically easy for the Europe-bound. The land route through Spain’s national outposts Melilla and Ceuta in North Africa is also popular.
Now Europe is about to reap the whirlwind from essentially declaring Europe to be open to anyone who wants to enter. This could easily be the Camp of the Saints year unless Europeans wake up from their liberal fantasies of universal openness and cultural relativism.
The Italian Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, recently noted that up to 600,000 were ready to board smuggler boats in Libya alone. Multiply that by several failed states in the neighborhood plus the civil war in Syria and the number becomes millions.
Note to Europeans: the African boater situation doesn’t have to be suicide by insanely misguided kindness. Australia has a sensible policy of turning back the invasive ships, despite the shrieking of the Refugee Industrial Complex:
Asylum seekers who were forcibly returned to Indonesia by lifeboat have given the first detailed account of their ordeal and a unique insight into the federal government’s Operation Sovereign Borders.
When Indonesians and other Asian boaters become convinced that they will face an “ordeal” rather than a welcome in the target nation, they will stop coming. The strategy is called negative re-enforcement and works wonderfully in shaping behavior. Europe could benefit by doing likewise.
The people getting the worst of the deal are Brandeis students who are supposed to be immersed in the unfettered inquiry of ideas. They have instead learned that intimidation works and women’s rights rank a distant second after multiculturalism, a leftist ideology effectively manipulated by hostile Muslims.
At least the students (and everyone else) can read a written version of Ayaan’s speech, though that experience is hardly as memorable as hearing it in person would have been:
We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking.
On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being “Islamophobic.” Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.
One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.
All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.
I read an article recently that said many adults don’t remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as “9/11.”
You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.
Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house. Continue reading this article
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