Friday, July 07, 2006

Slavery in Colorado

Where are the "feminists" and civil rights "activists" when you need them?
Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi subject was convicted last week in a Colorado court of:

* Twelve felony counts of unlawful sexual contact with use of force
* One felony count of criminal extortion
* One felony count of theft (this is probably the $64,000 in back wages he owed his “maid”)

In addition, there were two misdemeanor convictions, both related to “false imprisonment”.

Al-Turki owns a Colorado bookstore whose website still appears to be up and running. If you want to order an Islamic diatribe, here’s the email address: The snail-mail address is:

Al-Basheer Publications & Translations
3700 Havana Street, Unit # 102
Denver, CO 80239

Let’s not forget that this man didn’t break any Shari’ah law. Rape of your Muslim slave is permissible under Islam. The young Indonesian woman, a seventeen year old virgin before al-Turki got hold of her, could be raped and enslaved with impunity. Now, rape of an infidel woman is another matter, so it’s probably no coincidence that the family’s choice of slave was a follower of the Prophet. I wonder if she was permitted a Koran in her basement hole? After all, her owner had a bookstore which sold them by the bushel. Maybe he gave her an employee discount…?

Fortunately for this woman, Shari’ah law has no jurisdiction in Arapahoe County, and the fiqh does not apply in Colorado. Thus the Labor Department, in its lawsuit against al-Turki, requires him to pay $64,000 in back wages. Perhaps there will, in addition, be a civil suit for damages and deprivation of her civil liberties. Calling the ACLU and Reverend Jackson: a tailor-made case here, just waiting for you. Much more apropos than eradicating little tiny crosses from municipal seals, wouldn’t you say?

Al-Turki has the full financial backing of the Saudi government. They went his bail, to the tune of $400,000, and the lesser bail for his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, who plea-bargained for a lesser fate. She’ll be sentenced in July, and has agreed to return to Saudi Arabia after her sentence has been served next year.

Al-Turki is not free on bond anymore. Having been convicted, his sentencing will take place in August. His defense argued that he should be allowed out on bond until then. The prosecutors asked that he be remanded without bond. He is not a citizen, and has immigration issues.

[Judge] Hannen ruled that since Al-Turki was convicted of counts that had aggravating factors that would put them into the category of violent crimes, the statutes did not allow him to continue bond, and Al-Turki was to be kept in custody until his sentencing Aug. 31.

In October al-Turki faces yet another trial — this one in federal court — on charges of forced labor, document servitude (he kept her passport from her, and it eventually expired), and harboring an illegal immigrant. The last charge is especially ironic, since it was al-Turki himself who created her status as an illegal alien by not permitting her to renew her visa.

This man is one of those famous Saudi “students”, a 36 year old student studying linguistics in Colorado. He is also a member in good standing of the Colorado Muslim Council, where he spoke while out on bond awaiting trial.


Anonymous said...

I am a University of Colorado linguistics graduate student who has shared an office with Homaidan and shares as well his research interest in the area of phonology. Let me say first of all, that since he has been proven guilty, he should pay for his crime as the American justice system is having him do. However, I would like to clear up some miconceptions about our department that are appearing in the news media,and in blogs.
1. The Ling dept. at Colorado has many older students enrolled, mostly Colorado natives who have family in the area.Homaidan is not unusual in that respect.
2. Completion time in the dept. is quite long. We have been without a phonologist for 3 years, which would draw out a career of a student in phonology. We have no laboratory. Like other phonology students in our department, Homaidan spent time at other universities as a visiting student to get the training necessary to try to be up to date in our field.
3. Another factor slowing completion time in our program is that funded graduate students tach THREE classes for less funding than what students in other depts. get for TA'ing one class. Senior graduate students do the work of professors because our dept. is understaffed. Homaidan helped and tutored many students in our department without pay, as many senior graduate students do because of the high student to faculty ratio. This is part of the culture in our department.
4. I think the proper attitude to take toward Homaidan is one of compassionate teaching while having him pay for his crime. Since he has affirmed that he has followed Islamic principles, and Koranic quotes can show how he can follow Islamic teachings and run afoul of Western law,we need to show that our principles are superior. He should be punished while being treated like a human being--and we need to work on his state of denial of doing anything wrong.
5. I have seen him act with charity, justice and kindness on other matters, which is at odds with the crime that I do believe he is guilty of. Therefore there really is some kind of cultural disconnect at work. So, instead of calling him brutal names, make his punishment a reforming experience--it is the best way for us to defend our Western principles of freedom and dignity for women.
6. Support more funding for our beleaguered department and for higher education in Colorado to raise the academic level of our program. The linguistics dept.needs to double the size of the faculty and get adequate laboratory facilities just to pull even with average programs. This is how Homaidan can be a "linguist" while still taking so long for his degree--many of us are teaching, doing contract work while drawing out our studies while we fill in the gaps in our training.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed comment. There is an ancient aphorism that would apply even to students of that somewhat arcane corner of the linguistics discipline known as phonology: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Foreigners in the Saudi Arabian kingdom quickly become aware of the advisability of such a policy.