Jennifer Thalasinos is comforted by her pastor, Kathleen Dowell of Shiloh Messianic Congregation
Today the world’s news focused on new U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions concerning 7 highly volatile, Islamist countries. Money poured in from liberal sources like George Soros and CAIR (Committee for American-Islamic Relations, a group with ties to terrorist organizations like Hamas) to fund many of the people who protested at airports and government offices across America and across the world.
The “Los Angeles Times” covered anti-Trump protests at LAX airport in a completely biased manner and even asked readers to submit their “Immigrant Story.”
Well, here is my Minority Report immigration story. Let me clarify that not all Muslims are Islamists, a term that indicates an embracement of the extreme, violent, jihadist beliefs of Islam and Sharia Law. My Muslim Turkish mother-in-law, for example, would sooner give a stranger tea and homemade soup than assemble bomb parts, and she longs for world peace.
My friend Jennifer Thalasinos lost her husband to a new immigrant to America. She was a radicalized young Islamist from Pakistan who, after arriving in America about 3 years ago, got married and had a baby, all while plotting a terrorist attack with her husband. On December 2, 2015, she dropped her baby at her mother-in-law’s house, and drove off with her husband. He was an American citizen whose father emigrated from Pakistan. He worked for San Bernardino County as an inspector (sometimes of high schools) and made about $45,000 a year. The couple drove to their San Bernardino County Christmas party and shot up the large room filled with fellow employees and supposed friends who had thrown a baby shower for them a few months before. In just minutes, the two Islamist terrorists released hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Knowing the police would arrive soon, they left a bomb to greet rescue workers and drove off again, dying later that day in a shoot-out with police.
This attack put a little-known California city on the world map as yet another victim of Islamist terrorists. 22 people were wounded. 14 were killed, including my friend Jennifer Thalasinos’ husband Nick. Only my Minority Report covered the story from Jennifer’s point of view which showed that Nick, a Messianic Jew, was the main target. His coworker who shot him worked at the next desk. Over the last few years the son of a Pakistani immigrant had expressed great hatred towards Israel and Jews, criticized Nick for the Star of David tie pin he wore, and even sent a Facebook threat days before his well-planned attack.
I was newly back in America from teaching English and Journalism at universities overseas (in Russia, Turkey, and China) for 5 years. I sat in a restaurant near the Waterman Avenue county office where Breaking News reported an “active shooting.” I had just driven past the county office. I called my pastor’s wife to say, “I could have been there!” In fact, I missed an Islamist terrorist attack on a Moscow airport by a few weeks, and I had been many times to the Istanbul airport that suffered an Islamist terror attack by well-armed men on June 28, 2016.
My pastor’s wife replied, in a low voice, “Jennifer’s husband was killed in that attack. In fact, he was the main target–as a Messianic Jew.”
I hadn’t known Nick and Jennifer very well, since I had been overseas most of the past 5 years, with just 2 summers back in the U.S.A. to attend my Shiloh Messianic Congregation in Crestline, the first town on the way up the San Bernardino Mountains where I had raised my children and wrote many of my books.
But on December 2, 2015, my life crossed with Jennifer’s in a way neither of us expected. I went to Nick’s funeral, videoing much of it. I interviewed Jennifer at the lunch provided after the funeral, which had been attended by local politicians and the media, including LA news stations and the “Los Angeles Times.”
Jennifer told me how it felt to lose her soul mate in such a violent way.
“I was in the last group waiting for survivors to be bussed in after the attack,” she said. “It was about 9 p.m. They put my mother and me into a private room. A chaplain came in and told me that Nick was not on that last bus. He had been shot to death.”
Jennifer spoke about Michael Raymond Wetzel from Church of the Woods in Lake Arrowhead, another Messianic Jewish man from the San Bernardino Mountains who had been shot to death, leaving a wife and several young children. She spoke about meeting President Obama and First Lady Michelle. Her mother sat next to her, but Jennifer looked very alone. It would take her over a year to be able to return to teaching elementary school and to feel a little peace even though Nick was still not sitting next to her.
So I submit my new “Minority Report,” since the “Los Angeles Times” submit form did not quite cover this point of view. Perhaps the future of journalism lies not with the well-funded, big city newspapers, but with the citizen bloggers who get no money for what they write. They bring the Minority Report to the world and often suffer for it, like the Saudi blogger who still sits in prison, awaiting painful public whippings. He brought to light some truth about his own Islamic country, not on that list of 7, and he paid a great price. I dedicate my Minority Report to him, Raif Badawi of Saudi Arabia. Please remember other oppressed journalists, many of them in Turkish prisons (which I barely escaped after living there 2.5 years, marrying a Turk, and publishing a photo that later turned into a book about their 2013 Freedom Protests). More of us should remember the journalists whose stories appear on websites like Reporters without Borders.
Perhaps, these journalists may help you see that the hyped-up protests against President Donald Trump are hiding something darker that may be waiting for more Americans in their workplace, shopping center, or local airport.
The photo that almost got me arrested in Turkey
Check out my YouTube videos of Nick Thalasinos’ funeral:
Messianic Jewish Dancing
Saying of the Kaddish