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Islamic Hate Eyed in slaying of New Jersey family

By DOUGLAS MONTERO and STEFAN C. FRIEDMAN

The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online - and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said. Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site paltalk.com.

The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room. "You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange. But Armanious refused to back down, according to two sources who use the Web site.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy would neither confirm nor deny that cops and prosecutors were looking into the religion motive, saying only that "nothing is being ruled out." But a relative of the mayor who answered the phone at Healy's home said there was information the murders were "religion-related."

"There are several theories we are looking into, but we are not commenting on any of them at this time," said Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Guy Gregory. Armanious' fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia - who would have turned 16 yesterday. "She was very religious and very opinionated," said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment. "When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia," said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore's great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross. Also found murdered were the wife, Amal Garas, and the parents' other daughter, Monica.

Fred Ayed, the deacon at St. George and St. Shenouda Church, where the deeply religious family attended services, said he's worried that the murders could have a ripple effect. "I am concerned for the safety of our community," said Ayed, who knew Hossam for 30 years. "People are scared because one family was slain like cows," said Moheb Ghabour, publisher of a local newspaper for the Coptic community.

Both the deacon and uncle poured cold water on the theory that the family were the victims of a robbery gone wrong. "This is not a robbery, Ayed said. "We found all of the jewelry in the house. They didn't take anything." The FBI confirmed it has been called in to help with the case.

Above info from New York Post.

Daniel Pipes' Weblog

The Armanious Family Massacre

January 20, 2005

I have held off commenting on the chilling murder of the four Armanious family members on Jan. 14, 2005, in Jersey City, New Jersey, not being sure of its motive. I held off despite the New York Post on Jan. 16 drawing a connection between the massacre and the father's anti-Islamic Internet comments; and, one day later, WABC noting that a cousin of the slain family had worked as a translator for the prosecution in the trial of Lynne Stewart (the leftist radical lawyer accused of helping Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian Islamist leader, to get his messages out to his terrorist acolytes).

But today comes news from Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch explaining what happened, and I can stay silent no longer.

First some background: The Armanious were immigrants from Egypt, refugees from the anti-Christian situation there. Thinking they had reached security in the United States, they began to exercise their religion and their freedom of speech in a way unimaginable in Egypt. They spoke their minds and even engaged in efforts to convert Muslims. Based on information from a "close friend" of Hossam Armanious, the father, Spencer explains:

The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity - or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them.... It was these "converts" who knocked on the door of the Armanious home. Of course, the family, not suspecting the deception, was happy to see the "converted" men and willingly let them in to their home. That's why there was no sign of forced entry. Then the "converted" Muslims did their grisly work.

The friend goes on to explain that many Copts see the family's murder as a warning to Copts in the United States:

The nature of the warning? The murders send a signal from the Muslims to the Copts: we are going to behave here the same way we behaved in Egypt, and the First Amendment and American law enforcement will not protect you. Don't expect America to keep you safe from us. The oppression and harassment you thought you had left behind in Egypt has now come to you.

Spencer concludes that the Armanious's fate is akin to Theo van Gogh's murder in Holland, an indication that Muslims in the United States "do not, as we are supposed to believe, unanimously accept the parameters of American pluralism. That at least some are willing to enforce Sharia penalties right here, right now."

Comment: Assuming Spencer's information is accurate, it raises a most alarming prospect of the importation of Shari'a to America. I suspect, however, that government, media, academy, churches, and others will prefer not to see this horrifying development for what it is. (January 20, 2005)