In an incident eerily reminiscent of the recent murder of a German Muslim woman by a Muslim-hating attacker, a Seattle Muslim woman wearing a head-scarf was threatened with a knife by a local white supremacist. This is from the Seattle Times coverage:
A self-proclaimed white supremacist with a history of threats and harassment was charged today under the state’s hate crime statute after he allegedly threatened a young Muslim woman with a knife while she was waiting in line for services at the Seattle Indian Health Board…
…Eric Lee Garner walked up to the woman on July 1, pointed at her head scarf and said, “you Muslim people scare people when you wear things like that!” He followed up with other derogatory remarks.
The woman, who was holding her six-month-old son, tried to reason with the 24-year-old Auburn man by saying that her “her clothing does not make her a bad person”…When the insults didn’t stop…the woman backed away from Garner and tried to shield her son from him.
Garner then cursed at the woman, got in her face and pulled out a large sheathed knife, court papers said. Garner told the woman he was going to “cut” the woman and her baby with the knife, charging documents said.
One report says he threatened to “cut her genitals.” Another says he called her a “Muslim bitch.” Luckily a state employee intervened and took the knife away from the would-be attacker before he could use it, who later fled. The Seattle Police (who sometimes DO do something right) arrested him the next day. He bragged to them that he owned an AK-47 which he’d purchased after 9/11.
Apparently, Garner is a real model citizen:
[He] has prior convictions for felony harassment, trafficking, theft, violation of a domestic violence court order, assault, indecent exposure and drug possession.
By the grace of God or a higher power, neither this woman or her infant were harmed. May SPD and the prosecutor learn a lesson from the German incident and keep this savage thug as far from his victim as possible during future legal proceedings.
Given the history of Muslim-Jewish violence in our local community, I believe it is imperative that the local Jewish community strongly denounce this Islamophobic act. Despite the violence swirling in the Middle East, we Jews have much more in common with our brother and sister Muslims that what divides us. We Jews too are often the victims of prejudice and violence because of our religious beliefs. In fact, the wearing of a head-scarf, which provoked the German and Seattle attacks, echoes prejudice against observant Jews who wear a yarmulke. If we focus too much on the violence of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we forget what we share.
I hope that local Jewish groups here express their outrage at this incident and solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the face of Islamophobia. Rob Jacobs, local director of Stand With Us, a pro-Israel group which often expresses hostility to Palestinians and Muslims in general did criticize the attack saying: “Of course an attack, or, as in the case you refer to, threatening to attack anyone is wrong.” But along with this he launched into a harsh attack on me for even asking the question:
The last time I tried to communicate with you by email, you grossly edited what I wrote and posted selected portions up on your website that misrepresented much of what I’d written you. You have a history of doing that. You posted on your website selected parts of a private communication with a member of the Beth Shalom community and defamed him. There are now multiple websites dedicated to documenting the way you distort, misrepresent and quote out of context those with whom you disagree.
Since Rob attacks me for allegedly editing and misrepresenting what he said the last time we had contact, I’ve quoted him virtually verbatim to avoid that issue. I don’t think it helps his cause much, but I’ll let you be the judge. The incident of supposed “defamation” Jacobs refers to concerns a Stand With Us board member, David Brumer, who told me I should be “spanked” for my views of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Apparently, Jacobs feels that one of his board members who advocates attacking a fellow Jew should be shielded by the supposed “privateness” of the e-mail message. And revealing to the public that such a statement has been made apparently constitutes “defamation.”
This is unfortunately what a number of us liberals in the Jewish community have become used to on this question. Lots of heat and very little light. Paranoia and defensiveness but very little reason.