Monthly Archives: January 2018

Do lawmakers respond to immigrants’ requests? The answer depends on ethnicity and race.


Do lawmakers respond to immigrants’ requests? The answer depends on ethnicity and race.

 January 16

Immigrants and their allies hold a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in front of the Trump International Hotel in the District in September. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump’s campaign against immigration has made that issue central to U.S. politics — in no small part because of the country’s growing diversity. As immigrants and minorities make up a larger share of the U.S. populace, how will the Republican and Democratic parties respond? Our recent research shows that, at least when it comes to answering emails, politicians aren’t less responsive to immigrants than to native-born constituents. What mattered instead was the constituent’s race. No matter where they were born, or whether they identified as voters, ethnic minorities received fewer responses than whites.

Here’s how we did our research

We drew our conclusions from a type of experiment that researchers call an audit study. It was designed to determine whether state legislators would respond differently to requests for information from constituents with different demographic characteristics — immigrant vs. native born, white vs. Latino, and so forth.

Other researchers have found that, on average, politicians tend to respond less to racial/ethnic minorities’ requests. There are a number of reasons this bias might apply to immigrant constituents. Ours is the first study to separate the different factors that might lead to bias toward immigrants and test their effects for immigrants from a range of racial/ethnic backgrounds[Black immigrants in the U.S. face big challenges. Will African Americans rally to their aid?]

Our sample includes all legislators who publicly provided their email addresses to the Sunlight Foundation, along with all legislators from the state of California. In total, the sample consists of 5,087 legislators from 42 states, or approximately 69 percent of all state legislators.

We created accounts from which we sent the legislators emails, written as if from a constituent. Each email contained a simple request for information, such as how a constituent could track the progress of a piece of legislation or information about visiting the state capitol.

The experimental manipulation involved changing the constituent’s name to suggest a particular race or ethnicity. The text also varied concerning whether the constituent stated that they were born in the United States or not, and described themselves as voters or not.

Overall, legislators responded about 36 percent of the time, which is similar to the response rates in other studies.

State legislators were as likely to respond to immigrants as to U.S. natives

Two of our results were somewhat surprising. First, we found that constituents who described themselves as foreign-born were as likely to get a reply as constituents who described themselves as U.S. natives. Our emails included no information about whether an immigrant email-writer was in the United States illegally or not, so we cannot say whether politicians are more or less likely to respond to undocumented residents.

Nor did it matter much whether email-writers described themselves as voters or not. Legislators might assume that anyone who contacts their offices is politically engaged enough to vote, whether or not they say so.

But state legislators were less likely to respond to racial and ethnic minorities

Compared with whites, the probability of a constituent with a black-sounding name getting a reply from a state representative was 3 percentage points lower. The probability for our Latino name was 7 percentage points less likely, and the probability for our Asian name was 9 percentage points lower.

That’s on average — but for Latinos, it varied by party. Democratic politicians were equally likely to reply to whites and Latinos; the probability of a Republican legislator replying to a Hispanic constituent was 9 percentage points lower, compared with a Democratic legislator. We can’t say whether this is a result of prejudice or whether GOP legislators assume that someone with a Latino name is probably a Democrat, and less worth their time. In either case, such a pattern could make it more difficult for Republicans to reach out to Hispanics, something that has been a concern for some in the party.

On the other hand, both Democrats and Republicans were equally unlikely to respond to a constituent with an Asian name. That may be because Asians and Latinos vote at a significantly lower rate than do whites and African Americans. And while Asians and Latinos lean Democratic overall, significant portions of both of these groups say they are ambivalent about partisan politics and are apolitical. But if both parties fail to engage with this growingconstituency, members of these groups may well have reason to feel less than enthusiastic about politics and to stay away from the polls, making this self-reinforcing.

Micah Gell-Redman is an assistant professor in the departments of International Affairs and Health Policy and Management at the University of Georgia.


Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad

mashal radio
 .Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad
Journalist watchdog CPJ said the office was closed after ISI accused the broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan”.
The Committee to Protect Journalism has condemned Pakistan’s closure of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal office in Islamabad, calling it a “direct threat to press freedom” in Pakistan.
According to the CPJ, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry ordered the closure on Friday after Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency accused the private, US-government-funded broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan” and “in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda.”
“The order to close Radio Mashaal is a draconian move by Pakistani authorities and a direct threat to press freedom,” said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalism’s Asia program coordinator.
“Radio Mashaal is an important source of information and should be allowed to continue operating without delay,” he said.
Butler meanwhile told the Associated Press in an email that the move is part of a pattern of increasing pressure on journalists in Pakistan.
“It’s hard to know precisely what prompted the order,” he told AP.
“However, it is certainly only the latest move from the military that puts pressure on the media to stay away from sensitive issues, including criticism of the military itself.”
Butler told AP that the closure might also be retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies and deceit.”
“It also comes just after the Trump administration cut off military aid to Pakistan and could possibly be a kind of retaliation,” said Butler.
“It does not bode well for press freedom inside the country.”
On January 1, Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” and said the US would suspend up to $1.9 billion a year in military aid until Islamabad moves decisively against Afghan Taliban fighters and Haqqani network militants who he said have found safe haven within Pakistan’s borders.
CPJ reported that Pakistan’s order against Radio Mashaal accused the news outlet of “portraying Pakistan [as] a hub of terrorism and [a] safe haven for different militant groups.”
The order stated that Radio Mashaal programming presented Pakistan as a “failed state in terms of providing security to its people,” in particular minorities and ethnic Pashtuns.
It said Radio Mashaal showed ethnic Pashtuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Balochistan Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan as “disenchanted with the state.”
It also accused the broadcaster of “distorting facts [to] incite the target population against the state and its institutions.”
RFE/RL said Pakistani Interior Ministry officers went to the broadcaster’s Islamabad bureau on Friday and met with the bureau chief and administrator to discuss the closure order.
RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said he was “extraordinarily concerned by the closure” and was “urgently seeking more information about the Pakistani authorities’ intentions.”
Kent said Radio Mashaal, which broadcasts from Prague and has both radio and digital operations, is a “private news organization supported by the US Congress with no connection to the intelligence agencies of any country.”
“Radio Mashaal is an essential source of reliable, balanced information for our Pakistani audience,” Kent said.
“We hope this situation will be resolved without delay.”
In emphasizing that “Radio Mashaal serves no intelligence agency or government,” Kent said “our reporters are Pakistani citizens who are dedicated to their country and live and raise families in the villages in which they report.”
“We demand that their safety be ensured, and that they be permitted to resume their work without fear or delay,” Kent said.

Mexican Journalists Fear for Their Lives After Man Stabbed 21 Times in Front of Family

Mexican journalists stand before candles during a demonstration demanding justice for the murders of colleagues at Melchor Ocampo square in Morelia, Michoacan satate, Mexico on August 25, 2017. 
Ten journalist were murdered in Mexico this year, and one of more than 100 killed since 2006 in a wave of violence that has made the country one of the most dangerous in the world for the press. / AFP PHOTO / ENRIQUE CASTRO        (Photo credit should read ENRIQUE CASTRO/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican Journalists Fear for Their Lives After Man Stabbed 21 Times in Front of Family

Association of North American Ethic Journalists and Wrties deepest sympathy going to family and Friends of Slain Journalsit  Carlos Dominguez, 77,


The murder of opinion columnist Carlos Dominguez, 77, is currently under investigation after he was fatally stabbed while stopped at a traffic light in his vehicle on Saturday, according to Mexican authorities.

Dominguez, who covered politics, organized crime and corruption in his nearly four decade-long career, was slain in front of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Armed men stormed the stopped car in the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo and stabbed the journalist 21 times.

Colleagues of the reporter believe the attack was in response to his controversial columns. “For Carlos’ colleagues, there is no doubt that his assassination is linked to his journalistic work,” the organization Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on Jan. 15.

Ahead of Mexico’s presidential election, taking place in July, Dominguez published a commentary critical of the federal government. The day before his murder, he wrote of the government’s “failure on the matter of public security” on Mexican news website Horizonte de Matamoros, In the same column, he also criticized the local mayor for “lashing out against journalists who expose her flagrant faults.”

Los Angeles Times journalists vote 248-44 to unionize

Los Angeles Times journalists vote 248-44 to unionize /Association of North American Journalists and Writers congratulate unionization of Los Angles time Journalists

Journalists at the Los Angeles Times have overwhelmingly elected to form a union, a first for the 136-year-old news organization that for much of its history was known for its opposition to organized labor.

The union drive was launched publicly in October and culminated in an election earlier this month. Results, tallied Friday by the National Labor Relations Board, show workers voted 248 to 44 to be represented by the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

“We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward,” said Marisa Kollias, spokeswoman for Tronc Inc., The Times’ parent. “We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on.”

Guild organizer Kristina Bui, a copy editor at The Times, said: “This was a long time coming, and we’re all thrilled that this has finally happened. The newsroom has put up with so much disruption and mismanagement, and this vote just underscores how much of a say we need to have in the decision-making process. The newsroom is demanding a seat at the bargaining table.”

A staff organizing committee of 44 Times journalists had urged workers to unionize in response to years of corporate turnover, advertising declines and cutbacks that have shrunk The Times’ staff from more than 1,000 in the late 1990s to fewer than 400 today. Organizers said they hoped to bargain for job protections, salary increases and equal pay for men and women, and they argued that executives of the Chicago-based owner are overpaid.

Management, in emails to workers, said a union would not be able to solve the fundamental financial challenges facing The Times and other newspaper companies, which have faced steady declines in print advertising revenue coupled with much slower growth — or declines — in online revenue.

Through the first nine months of last year, Tronc reported that print advertising revenue was down 17% from the same period a year earlier, while the company’s digital ad revenue fell 6%.

Tronc also owns the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other daily and weekly newspapers. The union vote affects only workers at the Los Angeles Times and local Times Community News publications.

The NewsGuild, formed in 1933, represents 25,000 journalists, including reporters and editors at the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. The Los Angeles Times was one of the few major U.S. newspapers whose journalists were not part of a union.

Union representation overall has been declining in the U.S. for decades — about 12% of American workers were covered by a union contract in 2017, down from 19% in 1987, according to federal data — but organized labor has made gains in the online media business.

Workers at digital news outlets Vox Media, Huffington Post and Vice Media have all organized recently and are now represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

The Times had a long history as an anti-union organ. In 1910, a bomb placed by a man linked to a local ironworkers union destroyed much of The Times’ office at 1st and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Twenty-one people, including a Times editor and a telegraph operator, died in the blast.

Over the next several weeks, the guild will hold an election to select its officers, and bargaining over a contract will begin.

Meanwhile, The Times is also grappling with continued management turmoil in the wake of a National Public Radio report that Ross Levinsohn, named the Times’ publisher in August, had twice been sued over sexual harassment allegations. The report also alleged Levinsohn had used homophobic slurs while an executive at investment firm Guggenheim Partners.

Tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn said in a Friday a email to Times employees that Levinsohn had agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence and that law firm Sidley Austin would conduct an investigation into the allegations.

Association of North American Journalists and Writers congratulate unionization of Los Angles Journalists

Newspapers seized, journalists arrested as Sudan protests boil over


Newspapers seized, journalists arrested as Sudan protests boil over

File: The Sudanese Journalists Network said copies of newspapers were seized and journalists were arrested earlier this week while reporting on anti-inflation protests in Khartoum. Photo: Martin Bureau /AFP/Getty Images
JOHANNESBURG – Authorities in Sudan have seized copies of newspapers and arrested several reporters over articles on “anti-inflation protests” prompting calls from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) against the harassment.“Sudanese authorities should cease harassing and arresting journalists and confiscating newspapers, and should allow journalists to report on matters of public interest without fear of reprisal,” the CPJ said on Friday.

The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said on Tuesday and Wednesday Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested seven journalists while they were reporting on anti-inflation protests in Khartoum.


Reporters from privately owned newspapers Magdi al-Ajib of al-Watan, Rishan Oushi (Mijhar al-Siyasi), Imtenan Al-Radi (al-Youm al-Tali), and freelance journalist Amal Habani were arrested on 16 January.

The next day, Shawky Abdelazim, al-Youm al-Tali editor, Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters’ Sudan correspondent, and Abdelmunim Abudris, AFP’s correspondent, were arrested.

They all remain in custody.


A spokesperson for SJN, who does not want to be named said family members of the arrested journalists did not know their whereabouts or if they were facing any charges.

NISS agents also confiscated at least three newspapers multiple times this week over critical coverage of the protests, according to news reports.

“By arresting and intimidating journalists, confiscating newspapers and attempting to censor news dissemination, the Sudanese authorities keep trying to get journalists to stick to the official narrative or pay the price,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said.

“We call on the authorities to release the seven journalists immediately and allow the press to do its job.”

African News Agency

The biggest risk to American journalism isn’t posed by Trump


The biggest risk to American journalism isn’t posed by Trump

Journalists in the US are facing an unprecedented crackdown on their work. This crackdown is at its most visible when it intersects with protest

Independent journalism holds the unaccountable to account and shines light on the darkest corners of our world. It seeks to inform, to ignite, to inspire and to spark debate. Yet in one of the traditional bastions of a free media – the United States – that is under threat.

US journalists faced challenges before last year’s change in administration, but the inauguration of President Trump marked a sea change. So ubiquitous were the “fake news” accusations bandied about by Trump and his advisers that the phrase became word of the year in 2017. Journalists who dare to challenge the Trump narrative are frequently attacked as “enemies of the American people” and repeatedly mocked on social media.

However, the denigration of independent media is not limited to presidential Twitter trolling. If it were, we might not be visiting the US this week on an unprecedented joint international press freedom mission.

The fabric of press freedom in the US has been frayed and weakened by political stigmatisation of journalists and cries of “fake news”, but it risks much greater, and more permanent, damage from other forces, including harassment, detention and criminalisation.

Journalists are facing an unprecedented and unrelenting crackdown on their work that appears to come more from the playbook of dictatorial demagogues than constitutional caretakers. This crackdown is at its most visible when it intersects with protest.

Protest is free speech’s bedfellow in the first amendment. The protection of freedom of the press sits alongside “the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances”.

Yet journalists covering protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dakota Access pipeline, and the presidential inauguration have found themselves kettled, detained and charged with offences ranging from misdemeanours to felonies.

Photojournalist Tracie Williams was documenting activists at Standing Rock, North Dakota, when police arrived with automatic weapons. Williams was arrested despite explaining to officers that she was a journalist and her equipment confiscated. Williams was only able to retrieve her belongings after involving two lawyers, a local senator, and advocacy groups. She still faces charges.

Journalists also consistently report being stopped at borders and having devices seized and passwords demanded. Canadian photojournalist Ed Ou was detained for six hours and border agents searched his phone, made copies of his notebook and refused his entry; editor and photojournalist Terry J Allen was forced to delete photos she had taken at the US-Canada border and questioned when she refused to hand over her mobile phone; and British-Iranian BBC journalist Ali Hamedani was detained and interrogated on arrival to Chicago O’Hare airport in February. Hamedani said his interrogation, and the search of his phone and computer by US border agents, reminded him of when he last visited Iran and was arrested in 2009, saying that it “felt the same”.


Targeted harassment, stigmatisation, and detention of journalists fosters an environment of fear that shuts down debate. All these factors feed and fuel each other. Stigmatisation by public officials and politicians gives police and other authorities the impetus and invitation to make life more difficult for journalists, and so the harassment and detention escalate, preventing independent journalists from being able to do their job, which is often by definition a cause of frustration for those in power. It’s a check and balance that is vital to democracy.

As international freedom of expression organisations, we’re well versed in talking about these conditions in countries where dictators have held court for decades, but it becomes a global threat when we are having to raise the alarm about tactics employed by an established and influential democracy like the USA. Attacks to media freedom in the USA do not just stop at the borders, whether walled or porous.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in Myanmar has sought to deflect accusations of ethnic cleansing and reporting of human rights violations against Rohingya people with the ever more popular claim of “fake news”, while conducting a broader crackdown on press freedom, while China’s state news agency dismissed the reported torture of a lawyer at the hands of the state with the same words.

What happens in the US within and outside of its borders affects all of us. Our freedom to know, to criticize and to question those who hold power over us is reliant of the free flow of pluralistic and independent information. In our ever-smaller global world, some domestic policy can be felt as keenly abroad as at home.

The Trump trend of anger at the press is not just fodder for TV satire. It must be checked. We must all advocate for a flourishing plural and independent media landscape for the US and the world.

  • Thomas Hughes is executive director of Article 19, a global organisation working to ensure people everywhere have the right to freedom of expression and information, and are free to actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination.

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers

Charges sought against Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar

reuters journalsit burma

Charges sought against Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar

Journalist Killed in Mexican Border State


Journalist Killed in Mexican Border State

amid wave of violence against media

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers call on Mexican government to bring one( s)  who killed  Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez

before court of law immediately. –

Our condolences to family , friend and Colleague of Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez  –

International Director- 

Saeed Soltanpour –  Canada 

Jan 14 – 2018

A journalist was killed Saturday in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, and authorities said they were investigating to see if his death is related to his work.

Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez was slain in the city of Nuevo Laredo across the border from Texas while driving in a car with relatives who were unhurt in the attack, state security spokesman Luis Alberto Rodriguez told The Associated Press. Rodriguez said the body had stab wounds and there may have been gunshots.

The 77-year-old Dominguez had worked for different print media outlets, including the Diario de Nuevo Laredo newspaper, but he was currently an independent journalist who wrote opinion columns for news websites, Rodriguez and other journalists said.

If it is confirmed that Dominguez was murdered for his work, he would be the first journalist slain for his profession in the new year after a deadly 2017 that saw at least 10 killed in what international press groups called a crisis for freedom of expression in Mexico. Earlier in January, a news editor was killed in Mexico City in a robbery apparently unrelated to his profession.

Rodriguez said preliminary investigations indicated that Dominguez had not reported receiving any threats or requested security.

Tamaulipas’ government released a statement saying it “will act firmly against any attack on freedom of expression and the labor of communicators.”

Tamaulipas has been wracked by drug cartel violence, and the state is one where organized crime has often been able to intimidate media outlets into silence through violence and threats.

Both the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concern about the impunity surrounding the killings of journalists in Mexico.

On Jan. 7, in Guerrero state in southern Mexico, several journalists reported being roughed up. Bernandino Hernandez, who has worked with the AP, said state police beat, kicked and dragged the journalists.

Guatemala Congressman Arrested, Accused in Murders of Two Journalists

quatvamal congressman killed two journalsit

Guatemala Congressman Arrested, Accused in Murders of Two Journalists

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers call on Guatemala government for fast and open trial into the case of two Journalsits Danilo Efraín Zapón López and Federico Benjamín Salazar Gerónimo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The Guatemala attorney general’s office confirmed on Saturday the arrest of congressman Julio Juarez Ramirez, who is accused of plotting the murders of two journalists in 2015.

Prosecutors and investigators with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala said the politician orchestrated an attack on journalists Danilo Efraín Zapón López and Federico Benjamín Salazar Gerónimo, who were killed in March 2015.

Juarez was arrested on Saturday morning near his home in the southern district of Suchitepéquez and transferred to Guatemala City, the capital of the Central American nation. He maintained his innocence as he reported to court on Saturday afternoon.

“He who owes nothing fears nothing, that’s why I’m here in the name of God, who will clear up everything,” Juarez told reporters. “Talk to the press of Suchitepéquez and you will realize that I never, never had problems with the press.”

Juarez served as mayor of the southern city of San Antonio La Union from 2012 to 2015, before winning a seat in Congress the next year. According to investigators, Zapon, who was a journalist for the newspaper Prensa Libre, was attacked because he was working on a story about corruption in the Juarez’s administration.

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers call on Guatemala government for fast and open trial into the case of two Journalsits Danilo Efraín Zapón López and Federico Benjamín Salazar Gerónimo




quatvamal congressman killed two journalsit

Was it an Islamic group recruit gone wrong?

Boyle-Coleman Saga


By: Winny Moro
Canadian – Sudanese ANAJ Writer

There is a consensus, even at the international level, that Canadians are generally peaceful and easy going people.  However, many of the same people who have heard or read the details of the very troubling, sad story of the events that are repeatedly publicised as the kidnapping of Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman in Afghanistan, strangely face a dichotomy of not only feeling sympathetic to what happened in a five year period to the family, but at the same time feel a strange sense of anger at these victims for having put themselves and their four children so carelessly and un-necessarily in such a most disastrous predicament.

In the past few weeks, I have heard many versions of what I call the Boyle-Coleman Saga. What they said they had endured is extremely saddening, but at the same time there are so many inconsistencies and controversies in their accounts that leaves no recourse for the reader but to conclude that their narrative simply fails to make any sense and that is not even considering the new legal problems that Boyle is facing which has kept him in prison in Canada, at the point of this writing.

To begin with their story, I cannot get over what the urgency was for their “back packing” trip to Wardak Province, one of the most troubled parts of Afghanistan, that Joshua Boyle felt the need to take his seven months pregnant wife along.

I decided to speak with a Canadian friend who is familiar with the general geography and mentalities of the region.  It happens that he too had an experience of a five year internment in the area but in circumstances which by no means were anything as complicated as Boyle’s, but he still had no idea if it would ever come to an end other than an act of providence.

My associate is a member of Pen Canada and North America Ethnic Journalists and when I called him about this kidnapping account, he said that he had read a good deal about it and like me, he strongly believed that there is more to this story than what Boyle and Coleman are willing to say, the beginning of which he believes to have taken place in Toronto.

He said years ago, he had the occasions of talking with Zaynab Khadr, the sister of infamous Omar Khadr.  My associate cannot imagine how as a Canadian man, Joshua Boyle could get to the point of marrying such a super fundamentalist Muslim, burka wearing lady.  In other words, Joshua must have had a super fundamentalist Muslim beliefs himself to be attracted to and to attract Zaynab, to the point of becoming the spokesperson for the Islamic extremist family.  We believe that this is probably the crux and reason for attraction of the back packing trip to Afghanistan.

As an explanation for what they had gone to do on their trip, Boyle said that they had been in Afghanistan “helping the most neglected minority group in the world, those ordinary villagers that live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.”  So the question arrises, what type of aid did he and his pregnant wife have in mind to provide, making them more successful than even governments?

In a letter to CTV Ottawa, Boyle writes, “To those who strive to devote their life to acting as a servant of God, no explanation is necessary.  To those who don’t strive to devote their life to acting as a servant of God, no explanation is possible. Unfortunately, it’s really that simple.”

What is the meaning of that?  Well, the Canadian describes their expedition as a “pilgrim“ journey, which means the travel from afar to a holy place.

I suggest that Islam is what attracted the couple to the region in the first place and despite knowing that the area was a Taliban zone, the husband and wife duo regarded themselves as having the honour of potentially being martyr and sacrifices at the Alter of Islam.

Boyle and his wife have both said that the captors asked and wanted them “to do” something and when Boyle refused, they killed their first child who they named “Martyr”, which is mainly someone who has given life for a religious cause.  What was this work or mission which they denied and resulted in the child being murdered and the mother raped, yet when he was talking about these heinous crimes, Boyle found it necessary to defend Muslims by saying that the captors were not Muslims but rather pagans!

While the rest of the world believes that the Taliban and Haqqani are Muslims, Boyle’s idea of Islam is so good that he says he is a Muslim and the Haqqani are“pagans” because Muslims do not carry out acts like those they were subject to.

We also note that regardless of the extreme cruelties, Caitlan Coleman wears a full Islamic Hijab, which suggests that she, along with her husband had converted to Islam before their trip.  I say this because it is quite unlikely that someone would be kidnapped and tortured, and during captivity, take on the religion of their captures and even after release dresses like them.

In his pre-Afghanistan photos, we see Boyle with a very thick beard that usually is considered an Islamic signature in that area and his Canadian co-workers have said that he was taking time for Islamic prayer prior to the trip.  This shows that religion has been the center for the entire ordeal.

I believe that there had been a notion of what the Haqqani would require of the couple before they set out on their back packing trip to the mountainous region, but somewhere along the line, they encountered a glitch in their plan.  It was something the couple did not expect and denied, which resulted in the entire disaster.  Boyle and Coleman had nothing worthwhile to offer the Taliban or Haqqani except if they could use their citizenships and passports as North Americans to accomplish a serious blow on something or somewhere that was important for the USA or Canada.

After all, the pregnant American woman was the greatest cover up for a mission.

Many readers are astonished at the lack of challenge directed towards the couple and I am certainly not here to bash them, but this is such national news and I believe that there are countless unanswered questions which has left many of us scratching our heads during the past three months.

My associate, who is quite familiar with Islam, believes that a large number of people including the members of the media in North America are not willing to talk about that very strong “magnet of Islam” and particularly its power over its new converts.  He says, it makes no sense to him that someone hears some basics about Islam, he or she becomes a Muslim and in many cases all of a sudden the new faith becomes the presiding factor over not only their life, but also lives of loved ones.  He believes that is what happened to the Boyle family.

One of the most unsettling constituents of this story is Coleman giving birth to three children while in captivity.  Her first child was killed, she then had been raped, she had been subject of beatings, had been kept underground and we hear they had a place as big as a bath tub, yet she got pregnant not once but three times?  Are those conditions to bring up Canadian-American children or did the couple only consider themselves westerners when they got in trouble and needed to be rescued?

They say that they had no sun so they would give their child to one of the captors to take him out for some sunlight.  These people out of fear, allegedly had to hide Coleman’s pregnancy and even the birth, which means they were worried that their child would be martyred again, but yet they give that child to the same murderers to take out for getting sun light?

Even in our own safe country, we do not give our children to a stranger for a couple of hours and even in most favorable conditions, not many people give birth to three children in a four year period.  If this kidnapping had taken another five years, how many more children would Caitlan give birth to?

Their reasoning for having children in captivity is nearly childish, given their circumstances.  It is hard to believe that a mother who had become attached to a fetus growing and kicking inside of her for seven months, who then experiences the killing of that child, a couple months later would say because they have always wanted to have a big family, why not get pregnant again.

“We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands,” Boyle told The Associated Press in an email. “We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time.  Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking.”

“Honestly we’ve always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children … We’re Irish, haha,” he wrote, as if it was the appropriate time and place for them to live out their fantasies.

Their dream vacation experienced a fatal detour, but the two converts found the courage to make the best out of it by accomplishing and fulfilling their desire to have children before Caitlan’s biological clock ran out.

Joshua’s faith was more important than his family because, if it was the other way around, he would have been worried that he may get killed and then have a wife and three children in the middle of one of the most hostile societies, thus eliminating the thought of having children in the first place and more importantly, their entire trip!  Is it because “Multiply” is a concept in The Quran?

I find it quite odd that Boyle repeatedly uses the word “stupid” when referring to the Haqqani.  They have killed your child, raped your wife, beaten you, and all they are is stupid?  Stupid is certainly not a word someone who has gone through such tribulations would use to describe those responsible.

The couple had and still have great confidence in their “bravery” for taking such an unthinkable risk and they exhibit no signs of remorse for what they have done to their children, perhaps because they see nothing wrong with their contribution in creating such a tragedy.  It’s as if they would, with no hesitation repeat their actions over and over again if given the same opportunity.

After all, if you look at it as Boyle does, everything is very simple.  He was a servant of Allah.

The saga surely has not ended, as many people suggest that the recent charges against Joshua Boyle are merely a tool in having access to him and being able to put him to question about the events of the five year kidnapping.  The truth and findings might be of a much greater value for the authorities, particularly, what the kidnappers expected the husband and wife do for them in North America.


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