Why Are So Many Muslim Refugees in Europe Suddenly Finding Jesus?
by, Nadette De Visser | The Daily Beast | h/t Blazing CatFur
AMSTERDAM — Hundreds of Pakistanis and Afghans have been lining up at a local swimming pool in Hamburg, Germany, to be baptized as Christians. In the Netherlands and Denmark, as well, many are converting from Islam to Christianity, and the trend appears to be growing. Indeed, converts are filling up some European churches largely forsaken by their old Christian flocks.
All of which raises a question, not least, for the United States: If American presidential candidate Donald Trump gets elected and bars Muslims from entering the country, as he says he will, would the ban apply to Christians who used to be Muslims? How would one judge the quality of their faith?
For the moment, that quandary is a ways off for U.S. Homeland Security, but in Europe even now the phenomenon is fraught with echoes of the past, problems in the present, and omens for the future. Forced conversions of Muslims and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition were a dark page in Europe’s history. More than a little suspicion surrounds some of the current conversions, seen by some to be cynical bids to improve the chance of getting asylum. And, looking forward, it’s potentially quite dangerous for those who embrace the Gospel to return to homelands where abandoning Islam for another faith can be treated as a capital crime.Still, many preachers are pleased. The German pastor of the Evangelical-Lutheran church in Berlin calls the conversion phenomenon “a gift from God.” In his modest community a staggering 1,200 Muslims, mainly Afghans and Iranians, converted in just three years.
In Hamburg, where German ARD TV showed the Pakistanis and Afghans lining up to be baptized by the pastor of the Persian Church community, more than 600 people reportedly were received into the congregation.
There is no reliable overall figure for converts in northern Europe, but judging by reports from different media outlets, it is safe to assume the number runs into the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands who say they want the Gospel, “the good news,” offered by Jesus Christ.
One young Iranian woman convert told the German news magazine Stern, “I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found them,” Another convert told Stern he had found in Christianity an element—love—that was missing from the faith he was brought up in. “In Islam, we always lived in fear,” he said. “Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. But Christ is a God of love.”
Not all church communities are equally excited about this new development, however. Some church leaders question the integrity of the new stream of conversions, which may be undertaken under subtle—or not so subtle—pressure.
Pastor Gerhard Scholte of the Reformed Keizersgracht Church, who also heads up the refugee task force of combined Amsterdam churches, says, “conversion to Christianity is not promoted in our church, so we see very little of it.” From his point of view, “Everyone is a child of God,” whether baptized or not. “Faith should not be conditional,” he says.
Indeed, Scholte suggests that conversion on a large scale may verge on abuse. “It is taking advantage of people in weak positions and it’s all about the figures,” Scholte says, “That is abhorrent to me.”
His Reformed Keizersgracht Church in Amsterdam has been working with refugees since the early ‘80s. “Unless it saves lives, we are not eager to convert. In that case however, we convert anyone who wants to,” Scholte adds. In fact, this church has a long tradition saving lives through conversion. “This is what our church did to help Jews in the Second World War,” he said.
Many evangelical communities today take a more pro-active posture. They approach their work with missionary zeal and, implicitly if not explicitly, may link aid to conversion.
In the Netherlands and other Northern European countries, such churches are very active giving refugee assistance. They encourage refugees to accept Jesus in their lives and embrace the Gospel of Love. At the same time, they offer free Dutch lessons and may invite refugees for a temporary stay in Dutch Christian homes. In many cases this is the first and the only glimpse refugees get into Dutch society outside the boundaries of a camp.
The Dutch New Life Evangelical community in Alphen aan den Rijn reportedly saw 50 new converts added to its ranks in one year. “They were touched by God’s word during the prayer sessions,” Pastor Ab Meerbeek told the national newspaper Trouw. Most are from Iran and Afghanistan. They listen to the sermons translated in Farsi on headphones.
Whatever the reasons are for Muslim refugees to embrace Christianity, their conversions may endanger them if asylum is refused and they are sent back to their countries of origin. And contrary to popular belief, conversion to Christianity can actually damage one’s chances of asylum in the Netherlands.
“It does not help people, because the Dutch authorities tend to distrust swift conversion,” said Scholte. “It can work against you when you are seeking asylum.”
In Germany, conversion can work to a refugee’s advantage. “Members of our community are almost always granted asylum,” Pastor Gottfried Martens of the Berlin Evangelical-Lutheran Church told BZ Berlin. “They can’t go back without danger to their lives in their home country as Christians.”
This paradoxical fact—converted Christians are more likely to be persecuted than those who stay Muslims, and are thus more eligible for asylum—may explain part of the recent surge in conversions.
But there are many cases in which personal safety already is compromised before refugees arrive in Europe, says Geesje Werkman of Church in Action.
“If an Afghan woman comes to you saying she wants to convert because she was raped and because of that she would be stoned, she can be deeply touched and wanting to convert because of a passage in the Bible that says, ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone,’” says Werkman.
Werkman says she worries about generalizations. “There is not just one story, there are a multitude of different stories,” he tells The Daily Beast. “It really doesn’t help if the press writes that the conversions are unreliable, when there are so many different situations, it cannot be reduced to one storyline.”
Scholte, for all his skepticism about conversions and those who encourage them, thinks the strongest appeal of churches in Europe is a new idea of freedom. “That is what they sense when they come in touch with Christianity. I do understand,” Scholte says. “But if you tell me what church you are from, I will tell you how ‘free’ that will actually be. There are enormous differences.”
It is my personal opinion that we should not ‘prejudge’ the authenticity of another person’s transformation of faith. But rather, we should each focus internally, on the authenticity of our own faith.
Our Creator knows their hearts and their motivations.
And the truth shall always come to light, within the manifestation of the fruit.
Ahavah and Shalom.
by, fairus.org. | h/t futuret
In last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, Congress cut benefits to veterans by increasing co-pays for prescriptions. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the increased co-pays saved the federal government approximately $1.5 billion. (See CBO Estimate FY2016 NDAA) However, it now appears that $336 million generated from the veterans’ cuts was used to pay for 3,000 additional Afghan interpreters to be resettled in the United States. (The Daily Caller News Foundation, May 16, 2016)
Known as the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), this program was created by Congress in 2009 for Afghan employees and contractors who were employed by the U.S. government in Afghanistan any time after October 6, 2001, and who experienced an ongoing serious threat as a result of that employment. (See P.L. 111-8; 8 U.S.C. § 1101 note 26) Initially, the annual cap on SIVs issued was 1,500 but it was increased to 4,000 in the Fiscal Year 2015 NDAA before being increased again in the Fiscal Year 2016 NDAA to 7,000. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 9, 2014; Department of State SIV Guidelines)
While Afghan translators serve an important function in the ongoing war on terror, it is poor public policy to cut benefits to American citizen veterans to pay for these visas. “Military families shouldn’t be paying for the SIV program. The program should be funded outright because of the service our interpreters rendered,” said former Army combat veteran Alex Plitsas. (The Daily Caller News Foundation, May 16, 2016) There’s no reason to put veterans’ benefits on the chopping block, especially since there is overlap in jurisdiction with the State Department’s control of visa programs. (Id.)
Outrageously, it appears that several Senators want to cut veterans’ benefits again in the Fiscal Year 2017 NDAA to pay for even more SIV. An unnamed GOP Senate aide told the Daily Caller, “I’ve been told by multiple sources that they’re trying to use the co-pay hike to pay for the visa increase again this year.” (Id.) “With so much wasteful government spending that should be cut, it is befuddling how some in Congress are so eager to put military and veteran benefits on the chopping block.” (Id.)
The Senate is working on the Fiscal Year 2017 NDAA this week. Both Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have expressed a desire to increase the SIV cap but neither has explained how it would be paid for.
Video courtesy of: CBN News
by, RT | h/t Blazing CatFur
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants to prevent information about its creepy biometric database, which contains fingerprint, face, iris, and voice scans of millions of Americans, from getting out to the public.
The Department of Justice has come up with a proposal to exempt the biometric database from public disclosure. It states that the Next Generation Identification System (NGI) should not be subject to the Privacy Act, which requires federal agencies to give people access to records that have been collected concerning them, “allowing them to verify and correct them if needed.”
Video courtesy of: ABC7 WJLA
The proposal states that allowing individuals to view their own records, or even an account of those records, could compromise criminal investigations or “national security efforts,” potentially reveal a “sensitive investigative technique,” or provide information that could help a subject “avoid detection or apprehension.”
The database contains biometric information on people who have provided fingerprints to employers, or for licenses and background checks, as well as on convicted criminals and those that have been suspected of wrongdoing even for a short period of time, according to Underground Reporter.
The proposal argues that the FBI should be able to retain the data it has collected on individuals even if they are later found to have done nothing illegal, as the information “may acquire new significance when new details are brought to light.”
The FBI claims the retained data could also be used for “establishing patterns of activity and providing criminal lead.”
In addition, the FBI’s proposal calls for an exemption to a clause which requires agencies to maintain records proving that their determinations regarding individuals in their data base are fair and legally justified, arguing that it is “impossible to know in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely and complete.”
The proposal is open for comment until June 6.
Facial recognition is being used outside the realms of law enforcement as well. For example, a nightclub in Sydney uses the technology to identify clubbers previously deemed unruly to prevent them from getting in again.
Video courtesy of: fbi
Facebook has long used facial recognition software to identify people in uploaded photographs and offers facial recognition as a method of verifying a user’s identity.
There are now even facial recognition apps that can identify strangers on the street. While this may be great news for stalkers, it is less so for those not inclined to reveal their identity to random passersby.
Meanwhile, there are companies making products that can confuse or fool facial recognition software. A Japanese company has invented a “privacy visor” that will “scramble digital facial recognition software,”Biometric Update reports.
Specially made clothes and camouflage make up can turn a face “into a mess of unremarkable pixels” in order to throw the technology off.
Inside the NGI, in the words of the FBI
The information stored on the FBI’s Next Generation Identification System, the biometrics database it is trying to keep under wraps, gives federal agents access to a number of identification systems.
Here’s a rundown on the tools on offer to law enforcement, as detailed on the FBI’s website:
The Interstate Photo System contains 23 million front-facing photographs that can be used to identify suspects without human intervention.
The Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC) allows agents in the field to rapidly identify detainees and criminal suspects by searching a repository of Wanted Persons, Sex Offenders Registry Subjects, Known or appropriately Suspected Terrorists, and other persons of special interest.
The Latents and National Palm Print System is an updated database of finger and palm prints that can be searched on a nationwide basis.
The Rap Back Service notifies agencies of the activity of individuals after “the initial processing and retention of criminal or civil transactions.” The service can “notify agencies of subsequent activity for individuals enrolled in the service. Including a more timely process of confirming suitability of those individuals placed in positions of trust and notification to users of criminal activity for those individuals placed on probation or parole.”
Iris Recognition is “poised to offer law enforcement a new tool to quickly and accurately determine identity.”
— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) May 20, 2016
— Lauren Walker (@laserlauren) May 13, 2016
Kings Cross club using facial recognition cameras to identify patrons previously banned for bad behaviour. @Sacre88https://t.co/T8hT9PdNmT
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) May 19, 2016
When you find out that the snapchat face swap is actually being used for a facial recognition database for the FBI pic.twitter.com/pDZrA461nQ
RT @bobatl: when you realize all the snap chat filters are really building a facial recognition database ☕️🐸pic.twitter.com/mfE7BPJgf9
Fun hands on workshop @webwewant festival on tricks to fool facial recognition software.Seems Adam Ant had it right. pic.twitter.com/vb6wicMwiB
by, Josie Ensor (Beirut Bureau) | The Telegraph | h/t Blazing CatFur
Islamic State has moved its chemical weapons operation to densely populated residential areas and is testing homemade chlorine and mustard gas on its prisoners, residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul have claimed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighbourhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.
The terror group is known to harbour chemical and nuclear ambitions, and is trying to manufacture weapons not only for attacks within Iraq and Syria but also the West.
It has a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programmes under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts.
The head of the unit, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, was captured during a raid by US special forces outside Mosul in March and is now sharing intelligence on Isil’s chemical operation.
An investigation by Syrian and Iraqi citizen journalists who report under the name Sound and Picture, reveal he has now been replaced by Abu Shaima, an Iraqi doctor who worked at the University of Baghdad during Saddam’s reign.
Other than his links to the late Iraqi dictator little is known about Shaima, which is customary for top Isil leaders.
He is said last month to have moved the group’s operations away from its main laboratories at the universities of Mosul and Tel Afar, which have both been hit in recent months, to residential areas to protect it against aerial attack.
Residents of al-Mohandseen – which had been a wealthy Christian neighbourhood until Isil seized the city – said several houses had been taken over by Isil officials in the last few weeks. A number of large unmarked trucks have been parked outside and more recently they reported seeing dozens of dead dogs and rabbits in nearby rubbish containers.
An Isil insider confirmed to the journalists, who shared the information with the Telegraph, that they had been dumped there after they were used for chemical testing.
The report also claimed Isil has been carrying out experiments on prisoners they are holding at a secret jail in al-Andalus, in the Nineveh governorate of Mosul, exposing them to chlorine and mustard gas to test the toxicity.
Residents near the prison have reported breathing difficulties and children developing severe rashes – some of the side effects of exposure to such substances.
The extremists have seized large quantities of industrial chlorine and are believed to have the expertise to make mustard gas. They are also feared to have captured chemical weapon stocks from Bashar al-Assad’s regime across the border in Syria.
And in March, a suspected Isil chemical attack on the Iraqi town of Taza, south of Kirkuk, killed three children and wounded some 1,500 people, with injuries ranging from burns to rashes and respiratory problems.
Brig Roger Noble, the deputy commander of international troops training and supporting the Iraqi army, told the Telegraph that Isil militants are expected to use chemical weapons against troops trying to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commanding officer of the UK Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment (CBRN) and chemical weapons adviser to NGOs in Syria and Iraq, told the Telegraph the revelations showed the group was adapting to the coalition’s punishing air strikes.
“Isil’s chemical weapons operation has been heavily targeted – as is detailed in this report – and moving into residential areas is exactly what you would expect them to do now.”
He said Western security services should be concerned that their chemical operations have effectively gone underground, allowing them to continue their work outside of strike range.
“Now we know the extent of the Isil chemical and dirty bomb aspirations we must make doubly sure that our security in the UK is absolutely water-tight against this threat.”
by, Tom Batchelor | Sunday Express
The National Guard force – which was approved by the Russian parliament today – will be put under the strongman’s personal command.
It will be used for major counter-terrorism operations across the planet and have vast powers, including the authority to shoot into crowds and hold suspects for indefiite interrogation.
Experts say the ruthless force will act as an “extension” of Putin himself.
It will be used to conduct military operations around the world, detaining terror suspects for as long as is necessary to glean intelligence from them before handing them over to the police.
The former KGB leader was today given the green light by Russia’s parliament for the elite unit, which will be headed by his one-time bodyguard Viktor Zolotov.
Russia’s State Duma passed the first reading of the controversial bill with 345 parliamentarians approving the motion and just 14 voting against.
Mr Zolotov will report directly into the Russian president, giving Putin an iron grip over the country’s counter terrorism effort and increasing the chances of a tough crackdown on home-grown jihadi extremists.
Among the new powers being handed to the guard is a licence to shoot into crowds of people during terrorist attacks or hostage situations – a method of policing that has until now been banned because of the risk of injuring or killing bystanders.
National Guard officers will also be deployed on combat missions abroad, including anti-ISIS operations in the Middle East as well as peacekeeping missions.
But critics claimed Mr Putin could use the force to crush internal dissent in Russia.
Tatiana Stanovaya, of the Center of Political Technologies in Moscow, said the new guard force was so tightly tied to the Russian president that it would inevitably become “a continuation of Putin himself.”
Russian sociologist Ella Paneyakh added: “The National Guard is not just another law enforcement agency.
“This is another army, with the right to conduct military operations on the territory of the country and against the country’s citizens.
“It looks like they can seize anyone and keep them as long as they want, wherever they want, until they are handed over to the police or a court.”
On Tuesday it announced plans to restore the Cold War-era Dnepr base near Sevastopol, which will be equipped to intercept ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles at a range of around 2,000 miles.
The vast complex has not been used for 10 years but fell back under the Kremlin’s control when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Russian media said the rocket could “erase from the face of the earth land plots the size of Texas or France”.
The missile has been designed with stealth technology which enables it to be fired at a target without being picked up by radar systems.
It follows a warning by a former Nato commander that war between Britain and Russia was increasingly likely.
Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff said Putin should be judged “by his deeds not his words”.
He added: “He has used force and got away with it. In a period of tension, an attack on the Baltic states is entirely plausible.”
by, Beth Dalbey | Dearborn Patch | h/t Blazing CatFur
DEARBORN, MI – The evangelical Christian group whose members paraded a pig’s head on a stick and chanted that Muslims would “burn in hell” at a large Arab-American celebration in Dearborn four years ago has won the last hurdle in a free speech battle.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday offered no explanation when it declined to hear an appeal of an earlier 6th U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding the demonstrators’ free speech rights.
The Bible Believers sued Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and two deputies who ejected some of their members from the 2012 Arab International Festival as tensions were brewing over anti-Islam messages and preachings at the largely Muslim gathering. Angry members of the crowd pelted the evangelicals with rocks, water bottles and eggs, prompting police to step in.
Muslims Stoning Christians in Dearborn, Michigan:
The First Amendment case hinged on what’s known as a “heckler’s veto” — that is, the premise that police are justified in silencing a speaker to maintain peace and prevent potential violence.
In October, the 6th Circuit rejected that argument.
In its ruling upholding the First Amendment rights of the protesters, the Cincinnati appeals court decried the speech as loathsome and intolerant, but protected, and said that law enforcement and other public officials have special obligations in situations where the speech has the potential to incite violence.
“Bearing in mind the interspersed surges of ethnic, racial, and religious conflict that from time to time mar our national history, the constitutional lessons to be learned from the circumstances of this case are both timeless and markedly seasonable,” Judge Eric Clay wrote
In a rare move, the full court agreed to hear the appeal and set aside 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel in August 2014 that ruled deputies didn’t violate the evangelists’ free speech rights.
by, Michelle Malkin | New York Post | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
Social-media giant Twitter’s got 99 problems, yet the politically correct company is far more worried about the ‘‘optics” of cooperating with federal agents trying to stop jihadist plotters online.
The company’s stock hit a record low this month. Half of the company’s senior executives abandoned their posts earlier this year. Ad growth is sluggish. Desperate attempts to mimic Facebook have turned off users. And the micro-blogging network’s political pandering to liberals through the formation of an Orwellian Trust and Safety Council earned global scorn.
Despite these existential troubles, Twitter bigwigs turned their attention this week to what they reportedly perceive as a real threat to their ailing business: American counter-terrorism officials!
No wonder Twitter’s twumbling.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the tech titan cut off US intelligence agencies’ access to an exclusive tweet-sifting service it owns a 5 percent stake in called Dataminr. Its staff sends clients valuable analyses and alerts of ‘‘unfolding terror attacks, political unrest and other potentially important events.”
For the past two years, Dataminr has worked with government-surveillance operatives to detect and flag real-time patterns and national-security dangers found in hundreds of millions of daily tweets. It offered early warnings on the Paris terror attacks last fall, the Brussels jihad this March and ISIS attacks on oil fields in Libya.
The feds have been rightly under fire for not being on top of terrorists’ social-media organizing and communications. ISIS recruiters, propagandists and planners have spread like gangrene on the Internet. Pilot programs with cutting-edge private-tech companies like the one developed with Dataminr make absolute homeland-security sense.
You might think it would also make good business sense. Who wouldn’t want to boast of proprietary algorithms producing actionable intelligence that might save countless American lives (as opposed to just benefiting Wall Street traders)?
Answer: The preening social-justice nitwits at Twitter who, according to the Journal’s intel sources, are concerned with the negative impression some in the public might have because Dataminr teamed with the government against Muslim terrorists.
Twitter is putting progressive politics above patriotism much like Apple, which infamously refused to help the FBI unlock dead San Bernardino jihadist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone earlier this year.
Here’s the difference: There’s no privacy principle involved in denying our intel agencies access to Dataminr’s expertise. All the tweets published on the platform are public information.
Moreover, Twitter and Dataminr are happy to sell their news alerts to other paying clients — including financial institutions, NGOs and media organizations — just as long as those clients aren’t using the data to, you know, stop bloody terrorist attacks by Islamic suicide bombers, mass murderers and machete-wielders.
Twitter’s direct message to government counter-terrorism experts now shut out of the Dataminr service: Screw you. Screw America. You’re on your own.
The ACLU is ecstatic, of course. Its deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer praised the cutoff and told Techcrunch.com: ‘‘It’s completely understandable that a social-media company like Twitter doesn’t want to be seen as an arm of American intelligence agencies.”
So Twitter prefers to be seen as a de facto arm of al Qaeda, al-Shabab, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood? Duly noted. If the social network hadn’t allowed tens of thousands of jihad operatives from around the world to infest and exploit the site in the first place, there’d be no urgent reason for our intel agencies to monitor them.
As for troublesome ‘‘optics,” nobody beats the jihadists at disseminating negative images. Just a few months ago, the Islamic State put out a video threatening Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with bullet-riddled photos of his face and the iconic Twitter bluebird logo.
Twitter won’t help the government track terrorists with the best available tools in its arsenal. But if jihad were to strike Twitter headquarters, these same information-squelching executives will expect every last government counterterrorism agency and law-enforcement office to help them out and bring Islamic attackers to justice.
Keep screwing yourselves, Twitter.
A Message to ISIS: ‘..We Own You Bitches!..’
Video courtesy of: Wauchula Ghost
by, Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
On 4/16/2016 at approximately 9pm, a female reported that she was walking when a group of males called her over to their vehicle. She spoke with them for a bit and then walked away. They approached her a short time later on foot near the area of 32nd St W and Blaisdell Av S, where they sexually assaulted her.
There are five reported suspects. They are described as: 1. 19-23 year old dark skinned; Somali male, 6’, light build, with short black frizzy hair. 2. 19-23 year old dark skinned Somali male, 6’, light build, with black short hair. 3. 15-17 year old dark skinned; Somali male, 5’10”- 6’ light build with short black hair. 4. 19-23 year old dark skinned Somali male, 6’, light build with short black hair. 5. 50-56 year old dark skinned Somali male, 6’, heavy build, with a balding head. The vehicle they were in was described as a small black 4 door vehicle with tinted windows and a gray/silver interior.
* If you have any information on this case, including any information that can help identify a suspect, please call the Sex Crimes unit at 612.673.3081 in reference to police case number 16-082076. Alternatively, you can call our Tips Line at (612) 692-8477, or use the free MPD Tip 411 app, or text MPD + your tip to 847411 (Tip 411). MPD Tip 411 is anonymous.
WE do hereby hold Barack Hussein Obama personally responsible for this crime.
WE will seek justice for this victim and WE will secure it…
..by ANY MEANS necessary.
*There is no expiration date on this decree.
by, Robert Salonga | Mercury News | h/t Heavy.com
SAN JOSE — The last Facebook post by the teen is easy to dismiss as typical teen angst.
“(Expletive) yeah to the kids who feel like they’re dying inside but still gather up the strength to roll out of bed, get dressed and leave the house. You are strong and beautiful and worth so much more than you know.”
But after he and his brother were arrested Wednesday in the slaying of their parents, trace bits like this from their social-media profiles and narrow glimpses offered by friends and relatives begin to form a sketch that hints at tension not readily apparent to many who knew the family.
Much is still unknown about the deaths of 59-year-old Golam Rabbi and 57-year-old Shamima Rabbi, who were found dead from gunshots wounds Sunday at their hillside Evergreen home. The discovery was made by relatives who hadn’t heard from the couple for days.
Video courtesy of: ABC7 News
A motive remains unclear; as does when they were killed. Still, there was enough evidence for San Jose police to arrest their sons, a lightning bolt that pierced what was already an inconsolable cloud of mourning.
“We are very shocked,” said Golam Mustakim, a nephew of the Rabbis who credits them with helping his family settle in the United States. “Emotionally, I’m broken right now.”
Hasib Bin Golamrabbi, the couple’s 22-year-old son and a San Jose State student who hadn’t been seen since the killings, was arrested in Tracy. His 17-year-old brother, an Evergreen Valley High School senior whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was arrested in San Jose after initially being interviewed and released by police.
The case took on a national profile after it was revealed that next to the bodies, someone had scrawled a stomach-turning message: “Sorry my first kill was clumsy.”
Another cryptic message was written on a wall at the crime scene — “I can’t be like you telling a lie … I can’t love someone without telling them.”
Who wrote those messages remains a mystery; San Jose police have revealed few details about the case.
Scant clues remain as to why the brothers are suspects. Some of the teen brother’s schoolmates described him as pessimistic, but not extraordinarily so. There was a sense of surprise among peers that the 17-year-old was still attending school in the wake of his parents’ death; he was on campus Wednesday, hours before he was arrested.
“You would think he wouldn’t be able to function or go to school at all,” one student said.
The older brother, Golamrabbi, exhibits an aspirational air on social media, celebrating in one instance his admission to San Jose State, posting a photo of a dream house and hinting at a romantic crush.
A cousin who did not want to be named out of privacy concerns said she didn’t know of anything that would have caused a conflict between the brothers and their parents.
“The younger brother was quiet. He didn’t speak to anyone much. He had difficulty with social interactions,” she said. “The older one was more social.”
Hasan Rahim, who worshipped with the Rabbis at the Evergreen Islamic Center and knew them for more than 20 years, said nothing appeared to be amiss on the occasions he interacted with the brothers.
“This is the first time really when I came to know that things were not as placid as I thought,” he said. “I never saw any sign of trouble.”
Golam Rabbi was a hunter and owned at least one firearm, Rahim said. He recalled cautioning his friend, ‘Hey you better be careful.’ He laughed and said ‘Oh yeah, I am very careful,’ ” Rahim said.
The younger brother was interviewed by detectives Sunday and released. As recently as Tuesday, he was not identified as a suspect, as detectives sought to locate and question the older Golamrabbi, who also was not formally declared a suspect at the time. Police have not disclosed what led them to identify the sons as their parents’ alleged killers.
Golamrabbi is tentatively scheduled for arraignment Friday afternoon. He is being held without bail in the Santa Clara County Jail while his brother is being held at Juvenile Hall.
Golamrabbi declined a jailhouse interview with this newspaper; court records show he has no adult criminal record in the county.
Golamrabbi hid in an unidentified friend’s closet in Tracy for 24 hours and confessed to shooting his father, according to KPIX 5, which interviewed the friend. The friend said he was scared and helped Golamrabbi, and called police after he left.
The Rabbis were well respected in the local Bangladeshi and Islamic communities, active at both the Islamic center and with the South Bay Islamic Association. They immigrated to the United States in the 1980s; Golam Rabbi worked as a quality-assurance engineer and Shamima Rabbi, who earned her degree from San Jose State, was an accountant for several large companies.
“For all purposes, I saw him to be a very humble, polite person just like his wife. They seemed to be normal people like the rest of us. There didn’t seem to be any outward sign of any kind of trouble,” Rahim said. “It’s a huge loss.”
East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris Funk confirmed that the 17-year-old attends Evergreen and his brother was a graduate.
“It’s just a tragic incident, and we’re mourning with the community,” he said.
Attention now turns to laying the Rabbis to rest: The Janaza, or funeral prayer, is scheduled for Friday at the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara and burial is planned at the Five Pillars Cemetery in Livermore. Religious custom calls for a prompt burial, but initial plans were held up because the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office was allowed to release the victims only to their adult son. Relatives will now take custody of the Rabbis’ remains.
“Everyone is in shock, but we are desperately looking for some closure,” Rahim said. “The fact that we can offer the final prayer for them gives us some kind of spiritual consolation.”
Staff writers Mark Gomez and Sharon Noguchi contributed to this report.