Ex-Iraqi says pro-Jewish poem prompted attack, Part 2: A manufactured outrage?
The following is an update to the Page Marjorie posted on October 3: Attackers Carve Jewish Star Into Back of Iraqi Poet in St. Louis
The only reason I’m creating a new Page is because Marjorie’s is over a week old, so the comments are already closed. In addition, I believe it’s important enough to be followed up on as it’s potentially volatile & divisive.
I’d like to point out that of the nine Google Alerts I’ve received since October 4th—each one containing anywhere between 1-12+ links—the one I received today was the first one to contain a link from a reputable (read non-far right wing) source, namely stltoday.com, which is owned & operated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It’s possible that I might have missed others, but I doubt it as my alert was very broad: Search for “Alaa Alsaegh”, return all results (as opposed to “only the best”) for everything (include news, blogs, videos, etc.)
This won’t be news to the regulars here, but the far-right blogs have been pushing the story like crazy, using increasingly hysterical & inflammatory language the longer they’re ignored. There was even one case of someone posting to the Lonely Planet forum posing the question “Is it safe for Christians to visit St. Louis now?” When I followed the link on Monday, a moderator had already deleted and/or moved it, and now the forums are closed unless you register. That being said, the post is still available via Google cache. WebCite apparently won’t cache Google caches, so here’s a screenshot for posterity (you may need to right-click and do a “Save as…” in order for it to be legible):
I’m going to break up the quoted bits from today’s STLtoday.com article to compare them to what was written in the Arutz Sheva (Israel National News), FrontPage, and KMOV pieces. With the exception of the current article, all links go to WebCite versions of the pages in case they disappear or change later. Added emphasis is mine.
ST. LOUIS • A man’s claim that he was attacked or threatened here three times for writing a pro-Jewish poem — including having a Star of David carved into his back — has stirred the Internet and raised questions about the investigation.
Federal authorities say they cannot prove or disprove it happened.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan insisted, “These allegations are something that our office, and the FBI and the St. Louis police have taken seriously from day one and the fact that we have not been able to find any leads to follow up or corroborate the allegations is not a result of any lack of effort.”
The events described by Alsaegh began about 10:45 a.m. Aug. 14, when he says four people in a car forced his vehicle to the curb on Compton Avenue, south of Highway 40 (Interstate 64). He said they cut away his shirt and scratched a Star of David onto his back at gunpoint while reading a poem he wrote in sympathy with Jews who died in the Holocaust. The poem had been posted online on YouTube.
Alsaegh, a Muslim, said he is a former law adviser with the Iraqi Health Ministry who left the country in 2006 after uncovering a militia plot to use ambulances to transport weapons. He arrived in the U.S. in 2009.
He said the poem, a response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, drew criticism from conservative Muslims.
Four points here, in the order they appear above:
1.) This happened in broad daylight in the middle of the street and the feds cannot prove or disprove it? The Arutz Sheva article as well as the one posted at FrontPage by Nonie Darwish both said that the attackers “stabbed him” and that they were “laughing as they recited his pro-Jewish poem” while they carved the Star of David on his back.
Darwish’s version adds that they were wearing security guard uniforms, a detail absent from all the other accounts I’ve seen. Since both Arutz Sheva & Darwish aslo say “Mr. Alsaegh believes that the attackers could be Somalis”, suffice it to say that I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that many Somalis in the St. Louis area work as security guard since that would fit in quite nicely.
Strange that even though all four attackers were (supposedly) wearing security guard uniforms, they couldn’t be easily identified by the feds.
2.) I’m curious as to where Mr. Alsaegh was between 2006, when he left Iraq, and 2009, when he arrived in the U.S. What country was he in for 3 years? If he uncovered a militia plot, then wouldn’t that have helped us and might he not have been eligible for some sort of special visa? If not, how did he get here? What’s his current status? Is he seeking
amnesty asylum? Not that it really matters where the truth of this particular story is concerned, but still.
3.) Arutz Sheva identified him as an “Iraqi poet who converted from Islam to Christianity”, while both the earlier KMOV article and the current one from stltoday.com identify him as a Muslim. Even Darwish doesn’t claim he was a Christian convert; she asserts that he was alienated from the Muslim community because his poem “did not sit well” with them and they began threatening him.
I wonder which “Muslim community” she’s referring to? There appear to be 11 mosques & Islamic centers in St. Louis, so there must be thousands of Muslims there. (I’m not going to post a link to the list of mosques and make it any easier for haters to harass people.) Are we to believe that it was some sort of malevolent, city-wide Muslim hive mind at work?
4.) Though some may find it difficult to believe, not every conservative Muslim expresses their criticism or displeasure through violence, nor is the term “conservative Muslim” or even “Salafi” equivalent to “wild-eyed, murderous Jihadi”. Mind you, this is coming form someone who is neither conservative nor fond of Salafis.
Before the attackers left him, he said, one forced him to swallow something that tasted like spoiled milk. He said the gunman wore a brown uniform and warned him in broken Arabic: “We will hit you if you do anything.”
I don’t recall reading the detail about the attackers forcing him to swallow something that tasted like spoiled milk in any of the other articles. But, look! Here we have brown uniforms—again, why couldn’t the feds find them? How many companies can there be with brown uniforms AND multiple Muslim employees? No mention of them being security guard uniforms.
Remember how Arutz Sheva & Darwish said the attackers were laughing & reciting the poem as they assaulted him? The poem was in Arabic (you can google it, it’s still on the Arabs for Israel blog), yet now we’re told that the attackers spoke broken Arabic. Odd, that. Not odd that they speak broken Arabic, but odd that they’d try to recite an Arabic poem if they didn’t speak it well. The mother tongue in Somalia—if indeed that’s where the alleged attackers were from—is Somali, not Arabic (though many do speak Arabic).
He said the emblem was scratched into his back with a nail or similar object, and has healed.
Arutz Sheva & Darwish both said it was done with a knife. KMOV said the assailants “attacked him with a knife”, but didn’t specifically say they carved the star with it. Now it’s a nail. Or something sharp. Yet another inconsistency.
Since then, Alsaegh said, there were two more episodes.
In one, he said, an armed man confronted him at a home he owns on Page Avenue, showing him a picture of the Aug. 14 gunman and warning him not to identity the man to authorities. He could not say when this happened.
In the other instance, he said, he was confronted on the street near his home by someone who administered an injection in his head that knocked him out. He said he awoke four hours later and miles away.
He was attacked a second time and can’t say when it happened? Then he was attacked a third time and injected in the head and presumably kidnapped? Seriously?? Where were the police in all of this?
Why, after the first attack, was he taken to the hospital by “a friend” (according to Arutz Sheva & KMOV) who photographed his injuries for the police? Where was Alsaegh when the police arrived on the after responding to the call for help? Did he rush to the hospital without waiting for police or EMT’s? Speaking of EMT’s, if police were called and someone was bloodied in a violent attack, why wasn’t an ambulance called? If one was, there should be a record. Why didn’t hospital staff photograph the injuries?
Honestly, that 3rd attack reminds me of a story my son told me as a kid to avoid getting in trouble for being out when he wasn’t supposed to be—it involved masked attackers (wearing bandanas over their faces in broad daylight) who grabbed him, covered his mouth, took him to another apartment complex and dumped him in the swimming pool. No, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with him possibly being out swimming when he was supposed to be at home! *facepalm* (He still cringes over that story, heh.)
A police report obtained by the Post-Dispatch mentions only one juvenile witness, who didn’t see the attack.
Ah, so no one actually saw the attack. In broad daylight. In the middle of the street. Even though the victim was supposedly “surrounded by witnesses”, according to Arutz Sheva and Darwish.
This story smelled of a manufactured Outrageous Outrage™ by some right wing front group from the day I first laid eyes on it, and it’s only gotten more malodorous since.
The fact that the combined resources of the U.S Attorney’s office, the FBI, and the St. Louis PD can neither prove nor disprove this story doesn’t lend it any credence.
If you’ve read this far, then thanks for bearing with me through all the meticulous nitpicking. I’m just really sick of the lies & innuendo that are often spread to cause fear and hatred.