Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sulejman Talovic

The following was printed in the Times-News Sunday, February 18, 2007:

Sulejman Talovic was a Bosnian Muslim refugee. His formative years were spent in hiding, traveling from village to village to escape the genocide that killed 200,000 people, including his grandfather. At seven he lived near Srebrenica, where over 8,000 men and boys were killed. For a time they lived in a house with no water, no electricity, and a dirt floor. His father worked for a couple of dollars a day. They often went hungry.

In 1998 they made it to America. They lived in a poor, run-down part of Salt Lake City. Family members say that Sulejman's father "works all the time", and Sulejman himself dropped out of school at 16 to start working. He started a new job last December at an industrial laundry facility, and worked his regular 8-5 shift the day he caused so much pain.

Many point to Islam as the source of the problem, though the FBI immediately ruled out terrorist ties. I suppose it's possible that word will come out that he had some connection to extremist Muslim groups, but I think the problem is deeper than that.

I have worked side by side with some of Twin Falls' Bosnian refugees. One man told me he was a chef and had owned a restaurant back home. Then he showed me the bullet wound in his shoulder.

I am saddened by the loss suffered by everyone involved in the shootings. I praise and admire those refugees that survived the destruction of their way of life and work to begin anew. You are a benefit to the Magic Valley, and an example to the world.

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