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Deporting Gangs: The Boomerang Effect

Culture spreads across the Americas, winning recruits who see L.A. as the promised land.

By S. Lynne Walker

prodigalson
Max Beckmann's The Prodigal Son, 1949

Honduras—Marlon Fuentes is a big man in his cell block at Honduras' largest prison. His face is tattooed. His talk is tough. He menaces with threatening stares. A gang member from Hollywood, Fuentes spends his time behind bars impressing Honduran "homies" with his exploits in California. He joined Los Angeles' infamous 18th Street gang when he was 12, was arrested for selling dope and brandishing a deadly weapon, then deported in 1995. Fuentes, 27, is the United States' violent export, a Honduran citizen shipped home under an immigration policy that Central American governments insist has helped spread the deadly gang culture throughout the Americas.

From Honduras to Hollywood and back to Honduras again, Fuentes moved in a distorted world where gang members identify themselves with tattoos and build networks via the Internet that bypass international borders. Two decades ago, gangs were rare in Central America. But in the mid-1990s, the United States stepped up deportations of criminals, many of them gang members from the 18th Street and rival Mara Salvatrucha 13.

Today, gangs are Central America's No. 1 crime problem. Thousands of violent young men experienced in handling sophisticated weapons and evading law enforcement have been sent back to countries they haven't seen since they were children. Some are dropouts. Many barely speak Spanish. They survive by building networks of teenagers who are abandoned, unemployed and devoid of hope.

For these new gang members, as well as the deported veterans, the goal is the same: to make their way back to the United States and reach the gang mecca of Los Angeles. L.A. gang members teach their new recruits what they know best—robbing, stealing cars, selling drugs and, sometimes, killing. "We've done a great job of exporting the gang culture all over the world," said Al Valdez, supervising investigator of the Orange County District Attorney's Office gang unit. "Now the gang phenomenon is international." Today, more than 35,000 youths are members of gangs in Honduras, a country of 7 million people. El Salvador has approximately 30,000 gang members and Guatemala has 14,000.

In Mexico, where nearly 1,000 Central American gang members have been arrested in the past two years, gangs are taking hold in cities on the southern and northern borders, including Tijuana. The deportations haven't slowed the growth of gangs in the United States. Since 1992, the number of gangs has increased 625 percent, according to U.S. immigration officials. The National Youth Gang Center estimates the United States now has 750,000 gang members. California has roughly 365,000 members, 100,000 of them in Los Angeles County.

Every state in the nation now reports being plagued by gangs. "I sound like Paul Revere riding across the country and shouting the alarm, 'The gangs are coming. The gangs are coming,' " said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. Gang members deported from the West Coast sometimes sneak back across the border and head for East Coast cities. Since they are not known by local police, they can extend the reach of their gangs into virgin territory.

"We're everywhere," boasted a Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS 13, gang member in Los Angeles. "Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, L.A., Washington, New York, Denver. There's a few in Missouri. There's homies in Canada, too. Wherever we go, we recruit more people. There's no way they can stop us. We're going to keep on multiplying." Gang experts said U.S. immigration officials failed to anticipate the effect of deportations on other countries.

"The world is too global to export a problem and not expect it to come back," said David Brotherton, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York who has authored two books on gangs. "In El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, there's a whole new inner city youth subculture that originated in the First World," he said. "We've created this insoluble problem and these countries can't respond. There's no social work infrastructure. There's no rehabilitation. There's no money. They have enough trouble just providing basics for their own people."

For Central America's countries, the problem is certain to grow early next year when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, launches a nationwide gang-enforcement program. "We're trying to come up with ideas and different strategies" to combat gangs whose violent activities "pose a serious threat to national security," said Michael Keegan, the ICE spokesperson in Washington, D.C., on gang enforcement. Already, ICE agents are patrolling U.S. cities and rounding up foreign-born gang members.

In Charlotte, N.C., more than 100 gang members were arrested during an ICE operation last year. In San Diego, ICE agents arrested 45 gang members during a five-week operation in October and November. In Los Angeles, where more than half the homicides are gang-related, ICE set up an international gang crimes unit three months ago and began exchanging intelligence with the police department. Bratton favors the new initiative. "I think deportation works," he said. With more gang members being sent home, Central American countries are desperately searching for their own strategies to combat gang violence.

The Honduran congress last year unanimously passed one of the toughest anti-gang laws in the hemisphere. El Salvador followed suit with its own version of what has become known as the Mano Dura, or "firm hand" law, which allows police to detain any young man with a gang tattoo. Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas moved in that direction in May, approving five-year prison sentences for simply belonging to a gang. The crackdown has raised international concerns that gang members are being hunted down and killed by police.

Even so, governments throughout the Americas are pushing ahead to forge a united front against the 18th Street and MS 13 gangs. Mexico City's former police chief spent a week in Honduras earlier this year studying gang-fighting methods. El Salvador's consular representatives in Los Angeles recently asked L.A. police officials for a briefing on their anti-gang strategy.

In the South Bay, gang investigators from Torrance, Redondo Beach and Inglewood met earlier this month for a two-day workshop that drew law enforcement officials from across the nation. The focus was on the MS 13 because the gang is "up and coming," said an Inglewood detective who asked not to be identified. "We'd better know who we're dealing with. If we don't, we're going to get saturated." Gang violence touched Torrance in May, when a suspected gang member was shot at Sur La Brea Park.

The Torrance Police Department was so concerned about the potential for violence during a hearing on the case earlier this month that 10 officers were sent to the courthouse. Torrance Detective Henry Flores said as law enforcement cracks down, "gangs are migrating and continuing their criminal enterprise." Every time gangs are uprooted, they surface in another neighborhood, another city, another country. They move with the assurance that no matter where they go, fellow gang members will feed them, house them, orient them and possibly provide them with weapons.

As the gang culture spreads, people in the Americas find themselves linked in a new and uncomfortable way. Residents are frightened to walk their neighborhood streets at night, police aren't adequately staffed or trained, parents are grief-stricken by the senseless deaths of their children.

From Honduras to Hollywood the story is the same. Residents watch with fear, frustration and helplessness as gangs take their neighborhoods—and their children—away. Melrose Hill is an idyllic Hollywood neighborhood of bungalows and vintage streetlamps, a showpiece listed for historic preservation. Last year, Los Angeles Magazine called the 42-home neighborhood one of the 10 best in the city. But at night, when residents of this tight-knit community lock their doors, they hear gunfire in the distance.

The MS 13 has encircled their neighborhood, making it an island of middle-class American life in the center of random and relentless violence. Hollywood is home to the largest MS 13 clique in Los Angeles. Gang members drift in "fresh from Central America," police say, and stand outside the Hollywood Video near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Western Avenue until a homie steps out of the shadows to help them. "There's another world around us," said a lifelong Melrose Hill resident who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals against his family.

"You see what's going on in the surrounding streets, you see young Latino men posturing and you think, 'Oh, God.' And you drive on. You wonder if the prudent thing wouldn't be to flee like other white people." A woman was shot in the head just a mile from Melrose Hill last year as she drove her husband and three children home after a Thanksgiving dinner.

Police suspect an MS 13 gang member from El Salvador fired the fatal bullet. At Melrose Hill Neighborhood Organization meetings, the gang problem is always at the top of the agenda, said Brian Brady, 48, who has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years with his wife and three children. "Everybody knows they're not going away," Brady said. "If there's an answer to this problem, then it's pushing them to other places because there are always going to be gangs."

A few miles away, Hollywood Boulevard has become the 18th Street gang's turf. The gang members hawk their drugs and sometimes shoot at rivals who slip in among the hundreds of thousands of tourists passing through every year. Frank Flores, 30, who works the gang detail in the LAPD's Hollywood precinct, has seen scores of immigrant children join gangs, get arrested and then get sent back to countries they barely remember. "We have seen some who've come full circle—here in L.A., deported, then back again," he said. "It's frustrating."

Jorge Potter is one of those who has come full circle. After being deported in 1989, the Hollywood gangbanger introduced the 18th Street gang to his neighborhood in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. Potter's role as an 18th Street leader eventually made him a target of Honduran police, so he returned to the United States illegally and made his way back to Hollywood. There, Potter said he had a religious conversion—the only way a gang member can leave his gang without being killed—and started working in a Hollywood discount store.

In June, however, he was deported to Honduras again. He was detained by immigration agents in Las Vegas, where police had twice arrested him on misdemeanor charges. Potter said he was going to divide his time between working at a clothing factory and witnessing to youths in San Pedro Sula—which now has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America—about the evil of gangs. But when he stepped off a chartered plane guarded by U.S. marshals, he was wearing a muscle shirt that showed off his elaborate tattoos, including the number 18 tattooed on his right arm. His voice carried a touch of pride as he talked about his gang. "The 18th Street is No. 1 in Los Angeles," said Potter, now 36. "It's the biggest in the world." Latino kids living near downtown Los Angeles formed the 18th Street in the late 1960s to defend themselves against established gangs.

The MS 13 sprang up in the late 1980s, created by the children of Salvadoran immigrants who fled to California during a bloody civil war. The MS 13, which now operates in 30 states, is "a little more violent and a little more calloused" as well as more experienced in protecting members than its 18th Street rivals, said Joseph Esposito, one of the top deputies in the hard-core gang division for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. "If their members commit serious crimes, they are organized enough to move them to Minneapolis or Seattle or another city and start an enclave there," he said.

Jessica is a member of the MS 13, born in Guatemala and trained in the streets of Los Angeles. She has been the target of gunfire more times than she can remember. She is also a full-time office worker and the mother of an 8-year-old daughter. She came to Los Angeles when she was 5 years old, brought by her mother, who saw Los Angeles as a city of endless opportunities. While her mother struggled to support the family, young Jessica discovered a different Los Angeles. She started touching up her eyes with heavy black liner and slipping into gangster clothing after she left home in the morning. Eventually, she stopped going to school and started hanging out. She took a 15-second beating during an initiation ritual when she was 14 and became an official member of the Mara Salvatrucha 13.

Now 26, Jessica has survived longer than most of her homies. But her safety zone has been reduced to a series of city blocks whose boundaries are set by rival gang members. "On every block, on every corner, a homie has gotten shot and killed," said Jessica, who asked that her last name not be published for fear of losing her job. After 12 years as a gang member, she can't decide which direction her life should take. "Being bad is so easy and being good is so hard," Jessica said. "I get bored by the routine. For me, it's the street, the adventure, the thrill of danger.

People tell me that to change I have to get away. But I like being here. "Anyway, I'd probably go to another state and find the 'hood again. You can always find someone from the MS because it's so big." Jessica had a chance to start over after she posted her profile on the Yahoo personals page and met a Camp Pendleton Marine.

The young Texan took an instant liking to her, even flying her to Houston to meet his parents and paying for her trip to a Marine gala in Las Vegas. But Jessica didn't love him, so she broke off the romance. "I had a choice of a good man, benefits for life, or a guy from the street with no papers," she said. She chose a 25-year-old gangbanger who goes by the name of "Puppet."

Like Jessica, Puppet is an immigrant. He was already a member of the MS 13 when he arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 13. Puppet was deported to El Salvador in June. Three weeks later, he called Jessica and told her he had killed a rival gang member. He's trying to get back to the United States, but Jessica is terrified that 18th Street rivals will kill him before he makes it across El Salvador's border. In September, he was in surgery for six hours after 18th Street members hacked at his head, ribs and back with machetes. Jessica paid for his surgery with money collected from L.A. gang members.

Now she's trying to scrape together Puppet's $3,000 passage back to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, MS 13 members in El Salvador are urging Puppet to be their leader. And local cops are watching him "The new law (in El Salvador) is locking up the guys who are getting deported. The cops think they're the leaders," Jessica said. "Some of them are. Like Puppet. He will be one of them." The Rev. Arnold Linares ticks off the gangs that held residents hostage in his Honduras neighborhood of Rivera Hernandez before the anti-gang law went into effect.

The MS 13. The 18th Street. And the Normandies, named for Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles. "All this came from the United States," Linares said, shaking his head. "One 18th Street member killed (rival gang members) with an AK-47 his gang sent him from the United States especially for the job." For five years, Linares, the 35-year-old pastor of the Place for Everyone Baptist Church, has tried to lead young men.

Charitable organizations gave him six computers. A church in Memphis, Tenn., bought uniforms, balls and trophies for the soccer league he started for gang members. But he gets no government support for his efforts and in June, government officials evicted his league from the community soccer field. Linares often confronts danger as he struggles to help gang members. When he stood at the gate of gang leader Mario Montalban's house, he found himself looking down the barrel of a homemade shotgun. Linares raised his big, worn Bible above his head and Montalban, trailed by his second in command, lowered the shotgun.

Montalban, 26, started his Barrio 11 gang when he was 16 years old after a failed attempt to migrate illegally to the United States. He was attacked by gang members when he crossed the Guatemalan border into Mexico, then sent home by Mexican authorities. Montalban said he was "one of the worst," making homemade shotguns and forcing the working people of Rivera Hernandez to pay "rent" before they could walk down his street. He was high on drugs from morning to night. And he murdered at least six people. He stabbed his last victim in the throat with a screwdriver. After Montalban accepted Linares' offer to join the soccer league, he disbanded his gang and converted to Christianity. But his decision to go straight didn't mean Montalban was given a job and welcomed back into society. As a criminal, Montalban made enough money to feed his two young daughters and elderly mother.

When Linares walks the streets of Rivera Hernandez, he worries about Montalban and the others he has pulled away from gangs. "We have so many kids in the streets doing nothing. If they can't find work to feed themselves, they do the easiest thing—they rob people," Linares said. "We are asking the government to give them a place for recreation, to give them work. This is not just a spiritual matter. It is question of jobs." In Southern California, which has had gangs for nearly 100 years, the solution is just as elusive.

"We live in a nation where we want instant results. Unfortunately, the programs—suppression, intervention and prevention—take a little while to gestate," said Valdez, of the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Although gangs have now sprung up in every state in the nation—the MS 13 and the 18th Street have been reported as far away as Hawaii—Valdez said "there is a tendency for the very affluent communities of America to deny that gangs exist. It's always somebody else's problem."

Los Angeles County, which has almost 1,000 different gangs, has responded with more police, more crackdowns, more arrests under gang injunctions. In Redondo Beach and Wilmington, injunctions have resulted in a marked decrease in crime. Since the Wilmington injunction went into effect in March, at least 75 gang members have been arrested. But the injunctions, which allow police to arrest gang members simply for hanging out together in court-designated "safety zones," have drawn criticism from civil rights activists. "Injunctions are a way of outlawing normally legal behavior," said Los Angeles civil rights attorney Constance Rice. "You can't gather. You can't drink together. You can't talk together. You can't go to a restaurant together. It's a suppression method."

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo acknowledged that, "we are imposing on their civil liberties. That's the whole idea. We do that all the time in our society for safety reasons and the Supreme Court says that's OK. People in our communities deserve protection, too." But pushing gang members from one place to another is not the solution, said the Rev. Gregory Boyle, who works with gang members in East L.A. Nor are massive deportations the answer to the international gang problem, he said. "The police are passing them off to the INS. And what do folks do?

They get deported and they come back," said Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries to help gang members break their criminal ties. "The idea is to banish them, to demonize them. Tell me how that approach will keep a 15-year-old from doing it again." Lately, Boyle has been receiving phone calls from foreign-born gang members locked inside the immigration detention facility on Terminal Island, waiting to be flown to the nations where they were born.

Among the deportees waiting nervously in the facility in June was Oscar Zapata, who was to be sent home to Honduras. Zapata, 42, said he was out of the 18th Street gang, but a routine "stop and frisk" by L.A. police showed he was wanted by immigration authorities. Zapata joined the 18th Street gang in the early 1970s, shortly after he arrived in Los Angeles. His childhood in Honduras had prepared him for gang membership. At age 9, he was tortured by police and incarcerated with adult men in San Pedro Sula's prison. At 12, he was conscripted into the Honduran Army and taught to fight with an M-16 rifle.

When he was released by the army, he lived on the streets of Honduras until his mother took him to California. By the time Zapata got to Los Angeles, "I wasn't afraid of anything. I had lost my fear. I came here with a different mentality," he said. He was deported to San Pedro Sula two years ago after being arrested on drug charges, but he quickly returned to California. Zapata is appealing a judge's order to deport him this time because he's afraid he cannot survive the tactics of Honduran police.

Beads of sweat stood on Zapata's forehead as he remembered how the Honduran police kicked the body of a gang member and said, "This one is dead." "I am afraid of the police. Nobody can stop them," he said. "If they send you to prison in Honduras you are going directly to your death." Nearly 1,500 tattooed young men have been arrested since Honduran President Ricardo Maduro began his anti-gang campaign 16 months ago. Almost 200 of them died in two separate prison fires—one in an 18th Street cell block and the other in an MS 13 cell block—in which the guards were either found negligent or directly responsible.

In the most recent fire, on May 17 in San Pedro Sula, 61 of the 107 gang members who died hadn't been convicted of a crime. Aida Rodriguez blames the Honduran government for the death of her 24-year-old son, Alan, who died in the inferno. A veteran of the MS 13, Alan was serving a 69-year sentence for double homicide. "If the government was going to have an anti-gang law, then they should have prepared prisons for them because they knew they were going to capture a lot," she sobbed. Ramon Custodio, who heads Honduras' National Commission for Human Rights, calls the incarceration of the gang members "a massive illegal detention" and vowed to ask the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional.

"Because you're tattooed or because you behave this way or the other, you can be captured and taken to prison," Custodio said. "The principle of innocence doesn't exist any more in this country." Christian Antunez hides from Honduran police in the single room he shares with his wife and 18-month-old daughter. He has tattoos on his biceps, forearms, back and stomach. Above his right eyebrow are the faint letters NLS, or Normandie Street Locos, for the MS 13 clique he identified with in Los Angeles. Antunez has never been to the United States. He was introduced to gang life by his cousin, who grew up in L.A., joined the 18th Street and then became a leader.

When the cousin was deported to Honduras, he brought back his expertise in gang warfare. By his own admission, Antunez was a violent gang member. He was given a distinctive nickname: Mr. Crime. He murdered one man and said he participated in the deaths of others. "Sometimes you have to kill or be killed," he said. Antunez, 25, says he is out of gang life now, but until he burns off all his tattoos, he is in constant danger of being arrested under Honduras' anti-gang law. The only time he ventures out of his house is for his monthly trip to a clinic in San Pedro Sula called Adios Tatuaje, or "Goodbye Tattoo." "It's a human hunt in this country," Antunez said. "You know what they are doing with the anti-gang law? They are putting all the young people in jail. There is no rehabilitation. You know what rehabilitation is for the government? To kill them like dogs in the street."

Suyapa Bonilla, who runs Adios Tatuaje out of a room in her house, said many of her patients "came here crying because companies would not give them a job." Some had tried to gouge out their tattoos with a knife or the tip of a hot machete. The demand for tattoo removal is so great that Adios Tatuaje has clinics in El Salvador and Guatemala and is about to open one in Nicaragua.

Even men and women who've never been gang members feel compelled to remove their tattoos. Juan Carlos Brito, 24, pulled up the sleeve of his T-shirt to show the heart on his bicep that he'd gotten in the Merchant Marine. "I am sorry I have one," he said as he waited at Bonilla's clinic for his treatment to begin. "I have never been a gang member. But this law affects me, too."

Oscar Alvarez, the country's minister of security, shrugs off accusations by human rights activists that the gang crackdown is turning Honduras into a police state as it was in the 1980s when hundreds of suspected leftists were tortured and murdered by a secret military unit. Law and order, not human rights concerns, are on the public's mind, he said. And Alvarez, who is rumored to be considering a presidential bid, is at the vanguard of the politically popular effort. "The public was crying out, 'I want security,' " he said, "because this affects the people who are the least protected in the country."

Demographics underscore the seriousness of the problem, he said. In Honduras, 51 percent of the population is younger than 18. In El Salvador, more than half the population is under the age of 24. "We have to stop more youngsters from becoming gang members," said Alvarez. "If we don't do something about it, we are predicting a very grave future for our country."

At Honduras' Tamara National Penitentiary outside the capital of Tegucigalpa, an 18th Street gang member named "Lucifer" mocks officials who believe they can stem gang violence. "If you can't control gangs in the United States, how are they going to end it in this (expletive) country?" cackled the 22-year-old convicted murderer as gangsta rap throbbed and inmates pumped iron in the searing Honduran sun.

Paul Antonio Zelaya is an example of the problems faced by both countries. Born in Honduras, his mother took him to Los Angeles when he was 3. At age 11 he joined the 18th Street gang. On his bulging right bicep, Zelaya, who also goes by the name Ricky Alexander, shows off the tattoo bearing his California prison number. He was deported to Honduras in 2003 after being paroled from Imperial County's Centinela State Prison. Three months later, he was arrested by Honduran police for robbery. Zelaya and his fellow Los Angeles inmates talk about going back to the United States, to the city they consider home.

So does a prisoner who calls himself Looney, even though he has never set foot in the United States. Looney is one of 18 children in his dirt-poor family. Four of his brothers are also in gangs—two in the MS 13 and two in the 18th Street. In 1995, family members who had already settled in Los Angeles sent him money to make the trip. But he got arrested for stealing and has been in prison off and on ever since. He imagines Los Angeles as "a beautiful city" where homies can find "a blessed peace," because "there is not a lot of violence against them." "They have cars, TVs, food on the table. Everything. Everything. Everything," he said. "Los Angeles is a paradise.

Teaching On Uncommon Grounds, Iran Sinks Lower

iran
Iran's Long History
DATELINE FEB 11, 2007. From London and elsewhere we hear that textbooks used in Iran's schools are instilling students with hatred toward the West, especially the United States, and urging them to become "martyrs" in a global holy war against countries perceived to be enemies of Islam, a new study says. An Iranian human rights activist, Ghazal Omid, praised the findings, saying they prove hard-liners in Iran are using the books to turn children into "ticking bombs."

However, an American academic who specializes in Iran and Islam, and a former Iranian teacher said they believe the textbooks are a reflection of Iran's history and its deep suspicions of the West, not an effort to turn students into terrorists. The books emphasize the teachings of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and repeatedly refer to the United States as the "Great Satan" and to Israel as "the regime that occupies Jerusalem," said the study by the Israel-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace.

Omid, who fled Iran and wrote "Living in Hell," an autobiography about her experiences there, urged changes to textbooks in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. "I am an Iranian, a practicing Muslim woman, who sees it as her responsibility to stand up to hard-line Muslims who use Islam to brainwash children of that faith, in particular Iranian children, who the Iranian government is turning into ticking bombs," she said.

Omid, who lives in Canada, spoke at a news conference in London on Wednesday with study author Aron Groiss, director of research at the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace. Calls to Iranian officials for comment were not immediately answered.

The study analyzed 95 textbooks and 20 teacher's guides used at Iran's state-run schools. Groiss said the curriculum "reflects Iran's belligerent intentions which should sound the alarm to anyone who is committed to peace and stability in the world."

The study noted, however, that Western culture "is not rejected in principle" in the books and that the attitude to other religions is generally "not hostile." The books include discussion sections on respecting other religions and don't say people should be forced to convert to Islam.

Textbooks used in Iranian elementary schools included stories and poems that hailed martyrs such as those who died in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Groiss said. Another picture book for 10-year-olds provides a basic acquaintance with weaponry, explosives and military tactics, he said.

The study quotes one passage from a book for 10th graders as saying: "During the eight years of Holy Defense (the Iran-Iraq war), more than 500,000 school students were sent to the fronts. 36,000 martyrs, thousands of missing-in-action, invalids and liberated (prisoners of war) of this sacrificing section were offered to the Islamic Revolution."

abc_israel_loves_iran
Iranian Comforters
A passage from a book for eighth graders says God gives "eternal Paradise to anyone who becomes a martyr in the cause of God. He considers martyrdom a great victory."

The United States is referred to as the "Great Satan," the "World Devourer" and the "Arrogant One" in the books, and Israel is shown on maps as "Occupied Palestine."

The study is the latest to call for textbook reform in the Islamic world. Such efforts are under way or planned in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait to remove slurs against non-Muslims or promotions of extremism and terrorism. Israeli textbooks have undergone revisions since the 1990s to remove anti-Arab bias and present a more balanced account of Palestinian views and aspirations.

A fellow named David England responds to these characterizations of Islam on Jihad Watch:

Ms. Shireen T. Hunter is a specialist in misunderstanding. Her thesis or claim that "In some ways, they simply reflect the deep distrust of Third World countries about the policies and motivations of the great powers, which they see as neocolonialist" gets an "F." As if the religious rulers of Iran do not hang people in public and send weapons to Iraq and Lebanon and elsewhere about the globe in the colonialization by Iranian Islam of the Middle East. Moreover, I suspect that the professors who taught her to spin this crap in her doctoral thesis and later on as a respected member of the Academy of Dhimmi also deserve Fs as well and to be thrown out of Academia for gross incompetence and gross ignorance.

Iran was "de- colonialized" from England after World War II and was very little affected over the last 1000 year history by the United Kingdom during its Islamic period. England shares little of Iran's values or culture.

The birth of one baby in the United States of America puts 100 times more pressure on the Earth's resources, and on the natural environment, than the birth of a baby in Bangladesh. Because the living of one American individual is linked to the consumption of more food and clothing, the possession of a private car, more communication and transportation, and the generation of more refuse and pollution, while the lifestyle in Bangladesh is such that it does not require great quantities of mineral resources and energy.
The learned doctor also overlooks the affect of political Islam on British society today. She appears deeply ignorant of the Moslem invasion of the West. She mouths platitudes about history that are ill conceived and ill expressed.

She also has apparently never read the Khomeini (may God find a suitable punishment for the man) who is sickeningly clear in his 1981 speech to celebrate the birth of Mohammed (may God find a suitable punishment) about his motivation and the motivation of the current nation of Iran that the Mullahs set up:

"The real Day of God is the day that Amir al mo’menin drew his sword and slaughtered all the khavarej and killed them from the first to the last. The Days of God are when Allah, the gracious, the almighty, causes an earthquake. It is when He slaps on the face. It is when he causes a hurricane. He whips this people to become humans. If the Amir al mo’menin wanted to be tolerant, he would not have drawn his sword killing 700 people in one go In our prisons we have more of the same kind of people who are corrupt. If we do not kill them, each one of them that gets out, will become a murderer! They don’t become humans. Why do you Mullahs only go after the ordinances of prayer and fasting? Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing? Quran says; kill, imprison!

"Why are you only clinging to the part that talks about mercy? Mercy is against God. Mehrab means the place of war, the place of fighting. Out of the mehrabs, wars should proceed, Just as all the wars of Islam used to proceeded out of the mehrabs. The prophet has [had] sword to kill people...

"Our [Holy] Imams were quite military men. All of them were warriors. They used to wield swords; they used to kill people. We need a Khalifa who would chop hands, cut throat, stone people. In the same way that the messenger of God used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people. In the same way that he massacred the Jews of Bani Qurayza because they were a bunch of discontent people. If the Prophet used to order to burn a house or exterminate a tribe that was justice. The lives of people must be secured through punishment. Because, the protection of the masses lies beneath these very punitive executions. With just a few years of imprisonment things aren't rectified. You must put aside these childish sentimentalism. We believe that the accused essentially does not have to be tried. He or she must just be killed. Only their identity is to be established and then they should be killed."

"One American family has an impact on the natural environment 40 times more than an Indian family, and 100 times more than a Kenyan family."

The author of such riveting masterpieces is Ayatollah Khomeini, and echoed by adherants in the mosques and headlines all across the globe. A religion of death and misery landing straight on the backs of the children. Here are a few excerpts from some Iranian textbooks:

8th grade
"Exalted God orders the Believers in many verses in the Holy Koran to fight the Jihad in the cause of God and kill the oppressors. He gives the glad tidings of forgiveness and eternal Paradise to anyone who becomes a martyr in the cause of God. He considers martyrdom a great victory."

10th grade
"The birth of one baby in the United States of America puts 100 times more pressure on the Earth's resources, and on the natural environment, than the birth of a baby in Bangladesh. Because the living of one American individual is linked to the consumption of more food and clothing, the possession of a private car, more communication and transportation, and the generation of more refuse and pollution, while the lifestyle in Bangladesh is such that it does not require great quantities of mineral resources and energy.

11th grade
"O Muslims of all countries of the world! Since under the foreigners’ dominance gradual death has been inflicted on you, you should overcome the fear of death and make use of the existence of the passionate and the martyrdom-seeking youths, who are ready to smash the borders of unbelief. Do not think of keeping the status quo. Rather, think of escape from captivity, of deliverance from slavery, and of attack against the enemies of Islam. Glory and life are in fighting, and the first step of fighting is [the existence of] will. After that, there is the decision that you forbid yourselves to [submit to] the supremacy of world unbelief and polytheism, especially America."

So instead of working hard in building up nations, including Muslim lands and peoples, the Mullahs prefer to destroy the planet in the greatest threat to planetary life in written human history.

One Trillion Dollars Could Buy A Lot Of Bling

jihad53
Jihad, Muslim Against Muslim

ONE TRILLION DOLLARS sings the band Anti-Flag. One trillion dollars could buy a lot of bling. One trillion dollars could buy most anything. One trillion dollars, buying bullets, buying guns. One trillion dollars, in the hands of killer thugs.

The day that Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo announces that he has launched an exploratory committee to probe his potential as a viable 2008 presidential candidate, I discover a very serious article online at The Middle East Forum, written by Ali Alfoneh, a Ph.D. fellow in the department of political science, University of Copenhagen, and a research fellow at the Royal Danish Defense College. The following paragraph opens the lengthy article critiquing the Iranian point of view:

"More than five years after President George W. Bush's declaration of a global war against terrorism, the Iranian regime continues to embrace suicide terrorism as an important component of its military doctrine. In order to promote suicide bombing and other terrorism, the regime's theoreticians have utilized religion both to recruit suicide bombers and to justify their actions. But as some factions within the Islamic Republic support the development of these so-called martyrdom brigades, their structure and activities suggest their purpose is not only to serve as a strategic asset in either deterring or striking at the West, but also to derail domestic attempts to dilute the Islamic Republic's revolutionary legacy."

You can read the entire essay here.

Hem-Haw
al Maliki and Ahmadinejad

And this on the same day that the Iraqi government continues to suggest how cozy it is with the Iranian regime, suggesting that they, as Iraqis, have their own interests, and are bound by geographic destiny to live with Iran, adding that the Iraqi government wanted "to engage them constructively."

A fellow known as Foehammer writes, "Arabs and Persians are completely different races with separate cultural ties. It is one of the foremost reasons that we should be fueling the fires of rebellion in Iran—the young idealists there carrying around copies of the U.S. Constitution in their back pockets. The Persian factor is a large one—national honor goes a very long way back and far beyond the first days that the Muslims invaded and took charge."

His take:

Destroy Iran. Free Persia.

And this from the Washington Post (AP): The U.S. military has sold forbidden equipment at least a half-dozen times to middlemen for countries—including Iran and China—who exploited security flaws in the Defense Department's surplus auctions. The sales include fighter jet parts and missile components.

How long will these beasts run roughshod over the earth?

Save Ethiopia From The Wolves

Cracking Surface
Cracking Surface
Posted on Jihad Watch by Hugh Fitzgerald, the following article makes clear YET AGAIN the ridiculous posture American and other Western politicians have taken toward Muslim aggressors anywhere they find them across the global with one notable exception—Afghanistan—and that was only a quarter measure of the necessary response because these same leaders were too busy planning an attack on Iraq instead of focussing on a clean victory in Taliban territories. But I digress:

Talk to Ethiopian Christians in the West. Ask them about their fears. Not fears or memories of this or that regime, of Mengistu and the Derg, or complaints about Zenawi, but fears about Islam. Many may be hesitant at first, thinking perhaps you might be a Muslim or a supporter of Muslims, but if you forthrightly declare your own views, see what you are told in return, what a torrent may follow.

The demographic conquest of the last redoubt of Christianity, the famous Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia, so famous that when the inhabitants of Western Christendom, under constant Muslim attack, with raids up and down the coasts of Europe as far as Ireland and on one occasion, even as far as Iceland, sought and found a comforting myth of the powerful Christian king, beyond the lands of Islam, who would help the Christians of Europe fight the menace of Islam. At first this mythical kingdom of Prester John was located in Asia, in distant India, but later became identified in the minds of many in Europe with Ethiopia as the new Kingdom of Prester John.

Here is how one blogger at an Addis Ababa site expresses his fears:

The transparent argument here is that Christians are not allowed to help fellow Christians lest the war be perceived, as it is declared to be by the Muslims in Somalia and by all the non-Somali Muslims who will help them, as a war between Muslims and Christians.
"Ethiopia is at a crossroads. In fact it was headed for this crossroad no matter who was prime minister. It is a lion cub being hunted by the sabre of Islam. Islam is at odds with democracy, freedom and human liberty. It will ultimately oppose Ethiopia, even in violation of its own Koran.

I have been traveling & working in Ethiopia for several years now. There have been many changes. While the politics of Meles may be brought into question. Any situation beats the DERG and I would say the current status, though far from perfect beats an Islamic state any day. Ethiopia faces the loss of a developing democracy to the enemies of freedom and liberty.

Where Islam is the minority they are as lambs, where they are equal in power they are like a fox, when Islam is the majority they are as wolves.

What's going on is not merely political or philosophical, it is a war of ideology. The sovereignty of Ethiopia is at stake. Shore up her borders and then tackle the internal issues, as a parlimentary democracy—there is less freedom in an Islamic-fascist state. Just visit Somalia or Eritrea."

A former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia wrote: ‘Islam in Ethiopia has confined itself entirely to the spiritual realm. It has shown no interest in politics, though it is keenly aware that it comprises at least half the population and probably more.’ Furthermore, Ethiopia’s unshakable image in the eyes of the world is that of a Christian nation. The recent U.S. Department of State classification of all the main Horn of Africa nations in the region, except Ethiopia, as either predominantly Arab or Muslim, also reinforces that image.
One might also note the views of Muslim apologists who do not want the Americans helping Ethiopia precisely because it is seen as a "Christian" state, and this would offend Muslims, who apparently are free to wage Jihad, but we who are not Muslims must not extend aid to fellow non-Muslims lest this put a "religious" cast on what, of course, is already a religiously-prompted war.

This absurd argument can be found in a piece that appeared in a Houston paper, of which an excerpt is given below:

There are several reasons why aligning with Ethiopia on Somalia would be a bad idea that might even jeopardize the current coalition and undermine the long-term objectives of the war against global terrorism.

First, such partnership with a nation that portrays itself as "a Christian" nation against a Muslim neighbor, which is a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, and based on little and tainted information, would give the war a religious color, thereby undermining President Bush's core message right from the start: that the war is against terrorism, not against Islam.

Historically, Ethiopia viewed itself as a "Christian island surrounded by a Muslim sea." As a result, Islam has historically been perceived as a major threat to this country, and Ethiopian Muslims, though they constitute at least half of the population, have had an invisible presence in the country. A former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia wrote: 'Islam in Ethiopia has confined itself entirely to the spiritual realm. It has shown no interest in politics, though it is keenly aware that it comprises at least half the population and probably more.'

Furthermore, Ethiopia's unshakable image in the eyes of the world is that of a Christian nation. The recent U.S. Department of State classification of all the main Horn of Africa nations in the region, except Ethiopia, as either predominantly Arab or Muslim, also reinforces that image. Apparently, this has nothing to do with being "predominantly Arab or Muslim."

The transparent argument here is that Christians are not allowed to help fellow Christians lest the war be perceived, as it is declared to be by the Muslims in Somalia and by all the non-Somali Muslims who will help them, as a war between Muslims and Christians.

About one thing the writer is correct: there are many Muslims in Ethiopia, and its Christian character is threatened by the missionary efforts, and the usual overbreeding by Muslims. That is another problem, and it is a problem that needs to be recognized and not ignored but dealt with, because it is in the interests of the entire non-Muslim world that Ethiopia remain a Christian country and not succumb to Islam. And whatever that takes—:including the transfer of some Muslims into Somalia—should be considered.