Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dayton, Ohio: Amerikans Mark Ramadan by Attacking Muslim Children

Last Friday a ten year old girl was assaulted by two men at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

According to the Dayton Daily News:

The girl was watching children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, 26 Josie St., to celebrate Ramadan when she noticed two men standing outside a basement window about 9:40 p.m., according to police.

One of the men then sprayed something through the open window and into the girl's face from a white can with a red top, according to a police report. The girl said she immediately felt burning on her face and felt "sick to her stomach," the report stated.

Other children and a woman in the room felt affects from the chemical and the mosque was evacuated.

The following account is from a friend of some of the people who had been at the mosque that evening, and first appeared on the Huffington Post website:

She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn't stop sobbing.

This didn't happen in some far away place -- but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is not America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell -- there are good and bad people everywhere.

She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?

The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, ... , and other American friends -- but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?

Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?

What am I supposed to say to them? My words can't keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn't losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?

She didn't want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me -- tell me -- what am I supposed to say to them?

The local police have ruled there is no evidence it was a hate crime because the assailants did not leave anything at the scene of the attack! "The men didn't say anything to her (before she was sprayed)," one cop told the media. "There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us believe this is a biased crime."

Well of course. Any flinch or glare from a Brown kid is interpreted as a challenge or a sign of terrorist-sympathizing guilt, but white men pepper spraying kids at a mosque fails to indicate any underlying racist agenda. Welcome to America.

Oh, and i should mention: the racist DVD mentioned above is Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a 60 minute propaganda film being distributed to 28 million people in swing states by the right-wing Clarion Fund.


  1. Actually, if you follow that link now, it goes to a story titled "Police: No evidence of hate crime at local mosque"

    A can of pepper spray was found nearby, but there was no chemical evidence of pepper spray in the room or on the girl who reported it.

    Sounds like much ado about nothing.

  2. Wow, good to know people reading this blog have the same racist assumptions as the Dayton police, and great reading comprehension skills to boot.

    The Dayton police, as the article i linked to makes clear, do not deny that a girl was pepper sprayed in the mosque. Their judgment that "it may not be a hate crime" means they are suggesting that this is a random attack, and that it had nothing to do with the victim being Muslim, or being in a mosque, or it being Ramadan.

    Radical antifascists were critical of hate crime legislation when it was passed in the 1990s for precisely this reason, that it gives discretionary power to the police to decide how to investigate attacks based on their understanding of the motivations. And the police, like the state itself, is not a neutral or disinterested party.

    But cosmoreaxer's opinion that pepper spraying a ten year old is "no big deal" is not so unusual today, when indeed inflicting pain and violence on Black and Brown children is "no big deal" for America.