Daily Israel Report

Attackers Carve Jewish Star Into Back of Iraqi Poet in S. Louis

An Iraqi poet who immigrated to St. Louis and converted from Islam to Christianity has paid the price for supporting Jews and Israel.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/3/2011, 10:22 PM

Star of David carved into Alaa Alsaegh's back
Star of David carved into Alaa Alsaegh's back
courtesy of Alaa Alsaegh

An Iraqi poet who converted from Islam to Christianity, and who expressed pain over the loss of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, has paid the price for his beliefs.

Over a month has passed since Alaa Alsaegh was attacked over his Arabic-language poem, “Tears at the Heart of the Holocaust,”
featured on the “Arabs For Israel” blog.

The site is run by Arabs and Muslims who believe they can “support Israel and still support the Palestinian people.... support the State of Israel and the Jewish religion and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.”

But the poem apparently inspired attackers in St. Louis, Missouri to mark the Iraqi immigrant as a target for hate.

On August 14, Alsaegh was trapped by two cars as he was driving in St. Louis, Missouri. One sideswiped and struck his car, forcing him to stop, while the other stopped behind, cutting off contact with anyone else.

The two attackers then quickly hopped out of the cars, jerked open Alsaegh's door and pointed a gun at the poet, reported FrontPage Magazine.

“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,” the magazine reported.

After the attackers fled Alsaegh was surrounded by witnesses and taken to the local hospital, where his wounds were photographed by a friend, to be given to police and to the media.

Alsaegh told local KMOV TV News 4 last week that he recently posted a poem online expressing support for Jewish people in Israel.  He also said that his attackers, who he said may have been Somali Muslims, told him not to publish any more poems.

The FBI has allegedly opened an investigation into the incident, although a spokeswoman for the agency declined to comment.  The crime has not been labeled a “hate crime,” though no explanation has been offered. No arrests have been made in the case.