Greensboro, NC refugee activist visits Jordan IOM office, more Iraqis please

A couple of days ago I came across this column written by Raleigh Bailey about his recent visit to the International Organization for Migration office in Jordan.  Among other things he appears to have been interested in the slow flow of Iraqis to the US.  You get a feeling from his piece that he laments the fact that his hometown, Greensboro, NC,  and NC generally doesn’t have an adequate number of Iraqis compared to other states.  You also get a feeling he is not happy with the Israelis and thinks a soldier’s gun was paid for by US taxpayers.  (Truth be told, the US is largely paying for Palestinian “refugees'” upkeep, so what is the point?).

But, before I tell you what he said, Greensboro interests me.   Longtime readers may recall that Greensboro resettlement agencies were blasted in 2010 because of the large number of refugees arriving there and the apparent mismanagement of them by the federal contractors.  To see how bad things got go here and follow updates, and also go here.

I wondered if the resettlement into the Triad region of North Carolina had resumed in full force.

Now here is Mr. Bailey in the Greensboro News & Record giving us a look into the IOM office in Jordan:

Freedom.” “Security.” “Education.”

The first three volunteers wrote on the board. Our interpreter explained that they were listing the advantages of living in America. The list grew.

Then they listed the disadvantages. “Separated from family members,” “loss of culture,” “learning the language,” “loss of job skills certifications.” Then these Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan discussed their answers.

The lesson was taught by a teacher working for the International Organization for Migration. IOM contracts with the U.S. State Department to provide cultural orientation for Iraqi refugees accepted for resettlement in America. The objective was to develop realistic expectations about America and develop analytical and networking skills in decision-making. The class was conducted in Arabic because the U.S. no longer pays for English language training.

I was leading a dozen U.S. refugee professionals and researchers from half a dozen states for the Association of Refugee Service Professionals. We were studying refugee issues. My daughter, who works with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, had arranged meetings for us. The refugees were stuck. Though approved for resettlement, they can’t get security clearances because new software designed for the Department of Homeland Security has problems.  [I thought the problem had to do with the two Iraqi refugee terrorists found living in Kentucky?—ed]

All these Iraqis had met the U.S. and U.N. commission criteria as refugees: having a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, place of birth or political beliefs. Most had received death threats or lost family members because they befriended Americans in Iraq.

Since the program began in 2007, North Carolina has resettled 779 Iraqis, a small number compared to several other states: California, 8,663; Arizona, 3,161; Texas, 4,424; Massachusetts 1,719. Most North Carolina refugees come from other countries.

Forget Raleigh Bailey for a moment and humor me as my ADD (wandering mind!) sends me in another direction.

Is Greensboro a center of Muslim population and activism in the US and has this been an area Middle Easterners have known for decades as such?

Readers I am not saying that refugees in North Carolina are terrorists, I just thought it was interesting to note that for some reason Muslims have been going to North Carolina for decades—since at least the 1970s and ’80s.

Did you know Khalid Shaikh Mohammed the terror mastermind, really Osama bin Laden’s brain, went to college there, in Greensboro, along with hundreds of other Middle Easterners?   I guess you can tell I’m fascinated by what I’ve learned from Richard Miniter’s book “Mastermind”  (earlier I mentioned “asylum seeker” and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef).

First, in 1983 KSM enrolled in Chowen College in Murfreesboro, NC (that is near the Virginia border).  The largely black college was having trouble getting enough students so the entry requirements were not strict.  Miniter tells us that 29 (of 53) freshman science students that year were Muslims.  They stayed to themselves and otherwise strictly practiced their faith, including buying live goats and killing them in the halal fashion.

Within a year, KSM transferred to equally not demanding  North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University(NC A&T), 175 miles from Chowen.  In the summer of 1984 KSM (a reckless driver who chaffed against rules of the road) caused an auto accident that seriously injured a couple of North Carolina ladies and a legal wrangle ensued.  In the car with him at the time of the accident was the brother of Ramzi Yousef (the gang was all here, or at least in NC at the time).  The Yousefs are KSM’s nephews.

You can read all about the man who was responsible for a large number of terror attacks leading up to 9/11 and beyond in Miniter’s book. KSM personally beheaded WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl.   Osama bin laden was really nothing without KSM.

Also, it’s interesting to note that Samir Khan (the right hand man of Anwar Awlaki) who was killed along with Awlaki by an Obama drone attack in Yemen also hailed from North Carolina.

What is so attractive about North Carolina? I would really like to know!

Finally, I know it has nothing to do with anything, but opinion writer, Raleigh Bailey, may well have crossed paths with KSM at NC A&T right there in Greensboro, NC when both were on the campus in 1984.

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