Alleged Hate Crime: Iraqi Poet Has Star of David Carved in Back for Supporting Israel

One Iraqi immigrant living in St. Louis, Missouri might have learned the hard way what happens to Muslims who publicly support Israel and the Jewish people, when he allegedly suffered a heinous attack in August — where, in addition to being stabbed and held at gunpoint, assailants carved a Star of David into his back.

Alaa Alsaegh, a writer whose Arabic language poem, “Tears at the Heart of the Holocaust,” was featured on Nonie Darwish’s website, ArabsForIsrael.com, reported the incident to local authorities and was later taken to a hospital where his wounds were photographed. The Egyptian-born Darwish is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and has been one of the most prominent and outspoken critics of Islam since the September 11 attacks.

According to Darwish’s article in FrontPage Magazine on Wednesday, Alsaegh’s poem expressed the author’s affinity for Israel, the Jewish people and his mourning over the grim fate of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Such sentiments purportedly did not sit well with certain members of St. Louis’ Islamic community, however, prompting a string of alleged threats directed at Alsaegh in which the poet was smeared an infidel and a traitor to Islam.

But despite being accused of apostasy, the young man continued writing his poems — that is until the morning of August 14 when Alsaegh was reportedly attacked.

FrontPage provides an account of the incident:

According to Mr. Alsaegh, as he was driving at 10:30 in the morning on Compton St. near Park Ave., a small white car cut him off and hit his car, while another car stopped behind him. The occupants of the cars, some of whom wore security guard-type uniforms, quickly entered Alsaegh’s car, pointing a gun at him. They pushed his upper body down against the steering wheel, stabbed him and pulled off his shirt to expose his back. Then, with a knife, they carved the Star of David on his back while laughing as they recited his pro-Jewish poem. Mr. Alsaegh believes that the attackers could be Somalis, but he was not sure. After the attackers fled the scene, Mr. Alsaegh was surrounded by witnesses to the crime and was taken to the hospital. The photo representing this story was taken at the hospital.

St. Louis Police confirm that officers responded to a call for help at approximately 10:45 a.m. on August 14 and Both Dariwsh’s article and a report from local KMOV state that the FBI has become involved in the investigation — though the agency has not yet made any official statements pertaining to the incident, nor has it labeled it a “hate crime.”

Thus far, no arrests have been made.

Below is an interview with Alsaegh and his father. The video captures the outline of the Star of David, still visible on Alsaegh’s back over a month after the incident took place: