A photo of the Ibrahim girls during happy days at home in Richardson, Texas. (From left) Zahra, Rodina, Faten, and Maryam. In early November, the girls were abducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Zahra (an American citizen) was placed into the care of her uncle Ahmad, while Rodina, Faten, and Maryam were jailed with their pregnant mother and older brother. They remain in jail at the T. Don Hutto Prison Camp in Taylor, Texas where they are clothed in orange prison uniforms. Their father is jailed in Haskell, Texas. Despite the family’s pending appeal for asylum, US authorities are seeking deportation. You will find materials about the intolerable Ibrahim ordeal archived here.
EXCERPT from Salaheddin Ibrahim’s petition for asylum.
During summer 2000 the Israelis attacked Al Fandaqumiyah with tanks, airplanes and gunfire. I was away from the house when the attack started, and ran home. I went up on the roof. The Israelis fired gas bombs and one of them broke the window of my kitchen and fell inside the house. I came down from the roof and threw the bomb back outside. It was hot, but not too hot to scoop up and quickly throw out. The children were sick and Hanan and I ran with them out of the house. Maryam, who was two years old, was overcome by the gas and unconscious.
I ran with the children and my wife with shooting all around us, and the children were crying and my wife was crying. We stayed outside in the olive grove until the Israeli troops left the village. Then we went back in the house. Maryam had awakened but she was very sick. She had great difficulty breathing. I called my neighbor and asked him to come with me to the pharmacy to buy medicine for Maryam. I was afraid and wanted the neighbor Abdel Ba Set Raba to come just so I would feel safer. I intended to explain the problem to the pharmacist so that he could provide what Maryam needed.
I drove to the pharmacy. There were two others from my village in the pharmacy, but while we were in the pharmacy the Israeli soldiers came in and ordered us out. When we went out they confiscated our identity cards. The soldiers told me to go remove an object in the street, but I told them I had to take medicine to my daughter. They thought the object might be a mine or a booby trap. They cursed me and told me to do what they ordered me to do.
I refused and they shot near my head and demanded that I go. I went and recovered the object that was in the street. It was just a bag. Then they forced us to sweep the street clean. After about 45 minutes the soldiers left. I went into the pharmacy and got some pills that were supposed to enable Maryam to breathe. I gave her the medicine and she recovered….
Maryam is 4 years old. She is afraid of policemen in uniform, but the older children understand that they are safe in the United States. In Palestine, when the older children heard shooting or saw helicopters or Israeli soldiers, they would cry and run into the house and pull the bed clothes over their heads. They often were afraid to go to school, and, if they were too terrified to go, we would let them stay at home.