24 August 2007

Witnesses Ignore Woman's Cries For Help

Rage Ibrahim says that the incident was just a struggle for car keys as he tried to prevent the woman from driving drunk. Police, however, claim that Rage Ibrahim physically and sexually assaulted the woman for almost one-and-a-half hours, and that at least ten other people in the apartment complex witnessed and ignored the attack.

The surveillance video clearly showed men and women looking out their apartment doors or starting to walk down the hallway before retreating as the woman was assaulted for nearly 90 minutes, police spokesman Tom Walsh said.

Police said they responded to a call of drunken behavior and found Somali immigrant Rage Ibrahim, 25, and a woman lying unconscious in the hallway early Tuesday. The woman's clothing had been pulled up and she had fresh scratches on her face and blood on her thigh, according to the criminal complaint. [...]

Walsh said police were shocked by the behavior of the bystanders.

"(The video) shows one person looking out of her door probably three times," Walsh said. "It shows another person walking up, observing what's going on, then turning and putting up the hood of his sweatshirt."

At one point, the 26-year-old woman knocked on a door, yelling for the occupants to call police. A man inside that apartment told police he did not open the door or look out, but said he did call police — although they have no record of his call, according to court documents.
If the surveillance video shows what the police claim it shows, then Ibrahim's story has got to be bunk. Even if it was a struggle for car keys, it seems very unlikely that a struggle over car keys would continue for 90 minutes, especially considering Ibrahim's allegation that the victim was in a drunken state at the time.

As for the witnesses, I'd like to know why they ignored the incident. Maybe some of the witnesses are fellow Somali immigrants who believe that Ibrahim's actions are the way that unruly women should be dealt with by Somali men, or it could be that some of the witnesses were afraid of being accused of "post-September 11th fear and stereotyping," and they didn't want to get sued in a manner similar to the John Doe passengers aboard a U.S. Airways flight in Minneapolis who noted the suspicious behavior of several imams (a lawsuit in which the John Does are no longer listed as defendants). It is also completely conceivable that some of the witnesses did not want to have their lives disrupted by getting involved. All-in-all, I'd guess that it is a combination of the three, but since the article doesn't address the topic, this is just speculation.

I don't believe that my theory above is that far off, though. Most of the native Minnesotans that I know hate to be offensive to anyone whom it would be politically incorrect to offend, and Somali immigrants would definitely fall under that category. Also, the Somalis that I have met are not the most assimilated group in the state. The last apartment complex that I lived in had a very large Somali population, so much so that I started calling the place "little Mogadishu."

I'm not trying to say that this incident took place because Rage Ibrahim is predisposed to such behavior because he is Somali. What raises red flags for me is that he allegedly assaulted a woman for almost 90 minutes, and others witnessed it and did nothing to put a stop to it. That is what makes this incident stand out, and I think that such behavior on the part of the witnesses is likely due to a failure of immigrants to assimilate to our culture, and a fear on the part of American citizens of being accused of bigotry when confronting the actions of people from cultures different than our own.

It's time for that way of thinking to turn around. Immigrants need to use English and assimilate to our culture and values, while citizens need to stop being worried about politically correct B.S. that allows others to slide on the basis cultural tolerance and diversity.


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