Home, Sweet, Home: Is Lodi, California A Terrorist Hot Bed?


I was 3,000 miles away from my home
in Lodi, CA. when the word reached me that the F.B.I. is
holding

five local men
on possible

terrorist
related charges and immigration
violations.

Within hours of the breaking news,
I received e-mails from VDARE.COM readers wanting to
know if I was surprised that Lodi—an

agricultural community
of 62,000 residents—might be
a hot bed of terrorist activity.

My answer in a word: NO!

By now, the details of the on-going
investigation are well known. The principal suspect in
the case, 24-year-old U.S. born

Hamid Hayat,
is said to have received training on

"how to kill Americans"
in an Al Qaeda camp and then
lied about it to federal officials.

And Hamid`s father Umer allegedly
financed his son`s travels to Pakistan with the proceeds
from his business selling ice cream from a cart.

Additionally, two imams and one of
their sons—all citizens of Pakistan and affiliated with

Lodi Muslim Mosque
—are being questioned regarding
the status of their visas.

Why wasn`t I surprised?

Lodi, with its

well-established
community of 2,500 Pakistanis is,
in fact a perfect

breeding ground
for terrorists.

Pakistanis have been

coming to Lodi
for decades. Despite cultural
differences that include

arranged marriages
, second class status for

Pakistani women
, and the resistance of many adults
to learn English or to

enroll their children in K-12 schools
, the Lodi city
fathers have unquestioningly embraced them.


Pakistani Independence Day
, celebrated on August 14th,
gets as much coverage in the Lodi News-Sentinel
as the

Fourth of July
.

An August 18th 2003
News-Sentinel
story,

"Hundreds Celebrate Pakistani Independence Day in Lodi
"

ran on the front page above the fold and was accompanied
by five color photos.

The News-Sentinel also
publishes a weekly opinion column written by prominent
Muslim leader

Taj Khan
. The subject of Khan`s columns is
frequently Muslim concerns and views.

But Khan`s take on the recent
events in town is curious…and telling.

USA Today, in its June 9th
story titled "California
Man Tied To Terrorist Camp
,"
quoted Khan that

"We
will work with the FBI to roust out any rascals."

To Khan, individuals who train in
Al Queda camps for six months to learn how to blow up
U.S. supermarkets and hospitals are merely "rascals".

What the

politically correct
Lodi environment means is that
for those so inclined—as the Hayats may have been—would-be
terrorists
can go about their business with

little concern
that their actions may draw
attention.

Why bother planning jihad in well
policed locations like New York, San Francisco or
Washington D.C. when small towns like Lodi afford you so
much more freedom?

Through my job as an instructor at
the

Lodi Adult School,
I interact daily with Pakistanis.
My concerns have remained the same for nearly twenty
years.

Although some Pakistanis assimilate
while still remaining faithful to their

Muslim beliefs
, the vast majority shows

little interest
in becoming Americans—or in adopting
American ways.

In fact, American traditions are
ignored or rejected.

I recall one ESL student I had who
invariably signed the daily roll with a single word:


"ISLAM"

As the investigation continues,

Lodi Mayor John Beckman
is holding

meetings
with Muslim religious leaders to ensure
them that the town will take all precautions to avoid

backlash
.

But while it is important to
acknowledge, as Lodians do, that most of the Pakistanis
in our town are law-abiding residents, it is more urgent
to recognize that one mistake in character evaluation
can lead to the

deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Let`s keep our focus where it
belongs—not on whether some unenlightened Lodian might
utter a vulgarity but whether some Muslim residents have
ties to Al Queda.

The main reason we need to be ever
vigilant is because of the intense hatred Pakistanis,
and the other Middle Easterners, harbor for Americans.

A deadly incident last week in
Karachi proves my point. Shiites, blaming Americans for
a

suicide bomb
that destroyed their mosque, retaliated
by setting fire to a KFC franchise. Six employees were
killed.

Munawer Abbas, an Urdu literature
teacher, referring to the U.S. as "the great Satan"
told New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta
that even though a Pakistani owned the KFC:

"It is not important who
owns it. This is just because of American policies.
People

hate America
."

And nearby hung a banner that said:

"We want to warn America:
Martyrdom is our heritage. We will protect Islam until
the last drop of blood."

(New York Times, June 8, 2005, "Colonel
Sanders Finds Himself Under Fiery Siege in Pakistan
")

Two months after 9/11, I wrote a
column for the News-Sentinel that asked an
important fundamental question.


Why
, I asked, would Muslims who claim that Islam is
the most important thing in their lives

migrate
to a Christian country?

The column, also

posted
on VDARE.COM, generated the predictable mail
charging me with racism. But no one answered my
question.

In light of this week`s events in
Lodi, Americans have to face

ugly facts
that may be hard for many to accept.

But according to retired FBI agent
Nick Boone, Lodi and the surrounding area have had links
to terrorism for years.

Said the Los Angeles-based Boone,
who spent over 30 years fighting terrorism:

"I found numerous, numerous
connections to that area. That entire region, all of the
area around there, became a very big area of Arab
settlement." [Arrests
in Lodi may not be over
,
By Dan Thompson,
Associated Press]

We`re foolish if we

ignore the truth
: Some

Muslims
come to the U.S. to

kill us.

And the sooner the U.S. formulates
an immigration policy that reflects the undeniable, the
safer we will all be.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.