The Niqab and The Burqa As Security Threats

The Niqab and Burqa as Security Threats

by Daniel Pipes
Sat, 4 Nov 2006
updated Sat, 3 May 2008 at 4:55 PM

I wrote a week ago, in a blog for National Review Online, that the niqab and burqa should both be banned on security grounds, “as one cannot have faceless persons walking the streets, driving cars, or otherwise entering public spaces.” Although a problem with historic roots (Iraqi irregulars disguised themselves in the Palestinian town of Deir Yassin in 1948), this blog will document the current dangers, especially in the West, of the burqa and niqab as a disguise.

Mesmerising yashmak gang: This first incident is perhaps the oddest of all. I quote from the “British Muslims Monthly Survey,” which got this incident from the Chingford Guardian of October 8, 1998:

Two thefts in Chingford and Walthamstow have been blamed on “mesmeric Muslims.” At an off-licence in Walthamstow, two women wearing yashmaks with two children, asked for a bottle of Bacardi and sweets. They gave the owner of the shop a 50 note, which he changed. They then said they did not want the drink and asked for their money back. The owner of the shop said his mind went blank and he gave them the 50 note and an additional 10 note. He said: “I was just frozen and had no idea where I was. I have never known anything like that in my 16 years in the business. There was some sort of spell on me.” Later the same day, in Chingford, a similar event took place at a music shop where the owner returned the 50 note plus an additional 20 note.

(October 1998)

Jewelry theft in London: Two robbers, male and female, stole 200,000 worth of jewelry from the exclusive Ramot on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge by wearing burqas into the store. The robbers then flung open their garments to reveal guns, threatened the staff, took their keys to the display cabinets, locked the staff in a back room, and made off in a black Mercedes Benz getaway car with what Scotland Yard called “unique” gems. (March 7, 2002)

Attacking a church: Two assailants in burqas threw a grenade among worshippers at a Christmas Day service on in the village of Chianwala, northwest of Lahore, killing three and wounding thirteen. (December 25, 2002)

Burqa'ed commandos capture burqa'ed Al-Qaeda fugitive: On the plus side, a group of Pakistani commandoes disguised itself as women to wait out a ranking Al-Qaeda operative, Abu Faraj al-Libbi. And why were they in burqas? Tim McGirk of Time explains: “U.S. and Pakistani intelligence had received a tip that a suspected al-Qaeda operative would be traveling to [the town of] Mardan disguised as a burqa-clad woman. Because any plainclothesmen seen grabbing a woman would attract a hostile mob, the commandos had donned female garb and accosted the suspect as his motorcycle crossed a graveyard.” (May. 8, 2005)

Afghan suicide bombers hides under burqa: Five Afghan soldiers were killed and four wounded when a suicide bomber, whom the police think was a Taliban member, disguised himself as a woman and sat in the backseat of a car, then set off a bomb hidden under his burqa at an army checkpoint in Khost province of eastern Afghanistan. According to Mohammed Ayub, the regional police chief, “The bomber probably wanted to go into Khost city for a suicide attack there, but panicked and blew himself up when the soldiers started checking.” (February 2, 2006)

Al-Qaeda leadership in Iraq: Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, eluded Western forces over a three-year period through wiliness. In the description of Bill Powell and Scott MacLeod of Time, “al-Zarqawi was a maddeningly elusive targeta master of disguise who could pass as a woman in a burqa one day, an Iraqi policeman the next.” (June 11, 2006)

Palestinian gunmen escape Israeli forces in Gaza: The IDF suspected that Palestinian gunmen dressed up as women to escape a 19-hour standoff with the IDF that tried to dislodge them from a mosque where they were hiding. A report by Sa'id Ghazali in The Independent provides more details about women injured while taking burqas to the gunmen:

Lying in a hospital bed, covered from head toe in a black cloak, Asma Hamad, 23, said that she and two relatives were wounded while serving as human shields for dozens of fighters, who had taken refuge in neighbouring houses. The women were summoned by phone calls and local radio stations to rush to the area of the 700-year-old al-Nasr mosque.

“We went immediately to the streets,” Mrs Hamad said. “Some of us carried food, some brought traditional women's cloaks and head covers to help the fighters. The army immediately shot at us. I was hit in my left leg.” One woman told Maan, an independent Palestinian news agency, that she smuggled women's clothing into the al-Nasr mosque, where the gunmen were holed up , and helped them escape in disguise.

(November 4, 2006)

Abdul Rasheed Khalid, owner of Zaibi Jewellers, in Brampton, poses with empty display cases. He was bound and hit several times during a robbery on Nov. 17, the latest in a series of Toronto-area jewellery store heists.
Jewelry theft in Canada. : This incident was reported by the Toronto Star, “Jewel heists target Asians”:

Abdul Rasheed Khalid was alone in his Brampton jewellery store filling the display cases with yellow gold rings and necklaces when two people, one wearing a head-to-toe black burqa, appeared outside his locked door.

“Salamu alaikum,” the 58-year-old store owner said after pushing the entry buzzer, believing them to be a Muslim couple. There was no reply, and seconds later the pair both males forced him at gunpoint to the back office where he was bound with duct tape and hit several times. Then his store was cleaned out.

“Keep quiet, keep quiet, close your eyes,” they said, while emptying the red velvet trays into duffel bags carried by an accomplice. Khalid caught a glimpse of the crooks. He thinks they were Pakistani or Indian.

Last Friday's daylight robbery has other South Asian jewellers across the GTA on edge, fearful they'll be next. The thieves didn't seem to care that Zaibi Jewellers is in the same strip mall as a storefront Peel Region police station at McLaughlin Rd. and Ray Lawson Blvd.

(November 21, 2006)

Mustaf Jama, Britain's most wanted fugitive, apparently fled the country for his native Somalia by donning the niqab.
Murder suspect flees UK: It's not been confirmed, but a reliable source indicates that Mustaf Jama, 26, one of Britain's “most wanted” criminals for having murdered Police Constable Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, in November 2005, fled the country during the last week of 2005 and returned to his native Somalia. The picture of Britain's most wanted man, with 21 criminal convictions, had been circulated to every police force, port and airport in the country. He got through by disguising himself as a Muslim woman. Specifically, he adopted his sister's identity, using her passport and by wearing a niqab. Turns out, security personnel at London's Heathrow Airport made no attempt to match his face with her passport picture, even though the airport was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist attack. Indeed, the Times (London) writes that “British immigration officers rarely carry out a visual check to match a passport photograph with a departing female passenger's veiled face.” It also adds that, in October 2006, “a male suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation evaded capture in Britain for several days by dressing in a burka. He was eventually arrested and is awaiting trial.” (For more on that case, see “Suspect in terror hunt used veil to evade arrest.”) (December 20, 2006)

Jewelry theft in India: After closed circuit television cameras in jewelry stores in Pune, India (about 170 km from Bombai), revealed that burqa'ed customers had perpetrated three recent thefts of jewelry, each valued at over $8,500, the Pune Jewelers Association has applied to the police chief of Maharashtra State for permission to exclude anyone with a covered face (regardless of religious affiliation) from their shops.

Association president Fattechand Ranka explained: “Because of the burqa the police could not identify their faces. Anyone could be masquerading under a burqa, even a man.” He explained that the PJA has videos of women stealing jewelry but they could do nothing about it because the faces are obscured. “We could only see their eyes because the veil covered the rest of their faces.”

For his part, Pune police commissioner D. N. Jadhav has rejected the ban, for fear it would cause Hindu-Muslim problems, and suggested instead that if the jewelry shop owners “are really concerned about security, they can appoint saleswomen and women security guards in their shops.” And the PJA did back down, with Rankha announcing its withdrawing the proposed ban out of concern for religious sensibilities.

Naseem Siddiqui, chairman of Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, hailed the retreat. “The burqa is an integral part of Muslim religion and asking women to not wear it while shopping for jewellery will not be acceptable to the community.” But Javed Anand, general secretary of the Muslims for Secular Democracy, was sympathetic to the jewelers. “There is a valid point here and we must see it for what it is.” (December 29, 2006)

Police chief assassinated in India: Manzoor Ahmed, police chief of Pampore, Kashmir, was killed when a suspected Islamist posed as woman wearing a face covering. The subsequent gunbattle left one civilian dead and two constables wounded. (December 30, 2006)

Philadelphia bank: The report in the Philadelphia Inquirer is not explicit, so it's not clear if a niqab is involved, but one suspects so, for how else would “Muslim clothing” and eyeglasses disguise a successful bank robber:

A woman robbed a Center City bank yesterday and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. The robber, dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a pair of silver eyeglasses, walked into the Wachovia Bank branch at Broad and Walnut Streets about 2:10 p.m. and gave a teller a demand note, police said. The robber escaped after receiving the cash, police said.

(January 6, 2007)

The six accused July 21, 2007 bombers. Yassin Omar (seen here without his burqa) is on the lower left.
Bank robbers in London: “You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Rye Bread” and you don't have to be Muslim to misuise the niqab. Anthony Roberts, 22, and Nicholas Bidar, 19, stole Muslim clothes from Regent's Park mosque in June 2006 and put them on to conceal their identities for a bank robbery later that day in Kilburn, north London. They waited in the banking hall before rushing guards as they made cash deliveries and collections, then sped away in a waiting car. The pair of thieves pleaded guilty to three counts of theft (including a previous robbery three weeks earlier) and the Kingston crown court in south-west London sentenced them to four and three years in prison, respectively. (February 10, 2007)

UK Terrorism suspect escapes: Closed-circuit television captured Yassin Omar, 26, of north London, on two occasions wearing a burqa. Omar is one of the six accused July 21, 2005 would-be bombers (he allegedly tried to set off a hydrogen peroxide bomb at Warren Street Underground station). The first time was on the day of the attempted bombings, when Omar (in the Daily Telegraph description) “dressed from head to toe in a black burka and carrying a brown handbag” is seen walking to Golders Green coach station and getting off a bus hours later at Digbeth, Birmingham. (Click here for the actual CCTV footage.)

The second time, he fled London under a burqa a day after the failed attacks. As the Times (London) account puts it:

The 6ft 2in (188cm) figure of Yassin Omar, dressed from head to toe in a black burka, could be seen with a white handbag over his left arm as he made his way with a woman to a London coach station. Mr Omar boarded the 6.20pm National Express service to the Midlands, Woolwich Crown Court was told. Three hours later the bus arrived in Birmingham and he disembarked. He sat on a bench and waited until a red Nissan Sunny car pulled up, Max Hill, a junior prosecutor, said. He then got in and was driven away.

Yassin Omar, in burqa disguise, fleeing from the police.
It bears noting that, for reasons of verisimilitude, Omar shaved his arms and carried a white handbag. (February 21, 2007) May 4, 2007 update: Giving testimony in court, Omar explained that he took one of his mother-in-law's black burqas because she “had lots of them” and put it on out of fear that the police would shoot him.

Afghanistan: Afghan soldiers captured Mullah Mahmood, a Taliban leader and expert bomb-maker, as he tried to flee a massive NATO security operation dressed in a burqa. “Alert [Afghan] soldiers at this checkpoint spotted the oddity and quickly arrested him,” explained a NATO press release. (Mar. 7, 2007)

Pakistan: A male gunman wearing a burqa shot dead Masroor Alam, 35, a Sunni Islamist involved in several cases of sectarian killings, near his home in the remote tribal town of Dera Ismail Khan, north-west Pakistan, then fled on a motorbike. (Mar. 9, 2007)

Somalia: The niqab presents a whole different level of threat in Somalia, reports Reuters' Guled Mohamed in “Somali forces ban, burn Muslim women's veils,” where the Western-backed government has cracked down on women's coverings in the capital, Mogadishu, to prevent the Islamist Courts insurgents from disguising themselves and then attacking.

“Every policeman and government soldier has orders to confiscate veils from veiled women,” senior police officer Ali Nur told Reuters, saying various recent attacks had been carried out by people in disguise. “Some of the remnants of the Islamic Courts have been caught wearing veils. During the war, these remnants, pretending to be women, killed so many government troops.” Somalis are generally moderate Muslims and most women traditionally cover their heads but not faces. Officials say some suicide attacks have been carried out by men disguised under full face-veils, known as indhasharer in Somali.

A Reuters witness saw several veiled women running away from police on Wednesday. Near the main Tarbuunka Square, a Somali woman was seen removing her face covering before approaching a government checkpoint where one soldier clutched several of the black veils, which cover the face and leave only the eyes visible. Mogadishu residents said government troops and police had been forcibly removing veils and publicly destroying them. “Yesterday, so many veils were burnt by the police,” said taxi driver Abdullahi Mohamed.

(May 9, 2007)

Another Philadelphia bank: Five months later, a Wachovia Bank branch in Philadelphia is again held up by a woman in Muslim garb, though this time in the Juniata Park part of town.

A robber dressed in Muslim female clothing stole $700 from a bank yesterday in North Philadelphia. police said they were looking for a woman wearing gold-rim glasses in this case. The thief passed a note to a teller at the Wachovia Bank branch on the 1200 block of East Hunting Park Avenue in the Juniata Park section about 11:35 a.m. and fled on foot

(June 5, 2007)

Pakistani horror movie features “Burqa Man”: Zibahkhana (“slaughterhouse” in Urdu) has the distinction of being Pakistan's first home-made horror movie in a generation. According to its producer, Omar Ali Khan, reports Aryn Baker of Time, “the scariest local touch is the sadistic cannibalistic killer that wears a burqa,” a figure whom Khan dubbed “Burqa Man.” (June 12, 2007)

Fatah leader tries to escape Hamas: The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh tells the horrifying story of Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander and a sworn enemy of Hamas who tried to avoid the Hamas steamroller in Gaza. He fled his home in the northern Gaza in the evening of June 12 “dressed as a woman to avoid dozens of Hamas militiamen who had attacked it. He and several members of his family and bodyguards were lightly wounded. But when Abu Jadian arrived at a hospital a few hundred meters away from his house, he was discovered by a group of Hamas gunmen, who took turns shooting him in the head with automatic rifles. They literally blew his head off with more than 40 bullets,' said a doctor at Kamal Udwan Hospital.” (June 12, 2007)

Bosnian bank robbed: Two Men entered a Union bank in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo wearing niqabs. They trained their guns on the bank's customers, made those customers lie on the floor, and proceeded to empty the tills, making off with about $40,000. “Everything happened in a moment. Two persons in black niqabs came into the bank. I thought they were ladies,” bank customer Mehmedalija Komarac was quoted. (July 3, 2007)

The Pakistani press ran front-page pictures of Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz in his usual appearance and as disrobed trying to flee the Lal Masjid complex in a burqa.
Head of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad tries to escape: The two brothers who run the large Lal Masjid complex in Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan, have led an insurrection through which they hope to topple the government of their country. Holed up in the complex, surrounded by some ten thousand soldiers, one of the two brothers, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz Ghazi, 46, tried to escape by joining a group of some twenty women permitted to leave. He donned a full black burqa, even wearing gloves and high heels. Also, he was the only one of the group who stayed quiet.

What happened next is a matter of dispute. One account has a female police officer searching his body, then yelling out, “This is not a woman.” Another account has a male security officer pouncing on the mysterious figure and, “as he grabbed her, the burqa came off and his beard fell out. He asked the man who he was and he said I am Maulana Abdul Aziz'.” A third account quotes a security official saying that Abdul Aziz was picked out because of his “unusual demeanour,” As he put it: “The rest of the girls looked like girls, but he was taller and had a pot belly.”

Government officials had a good laugh at Maulana Abdul Aziz's expense. Deputy information minister Tariq Azeem noted: “After all the things he has said and all the oaths he took from his students that they should embrace martyrdom with him, look at this man.” (July 4, 2007)

Kenyan prostitutes hide under niqabs: Now for the niqab hiding an altogether different sort of crime: Prostitution is illegal in Kenya's coastal port of Mombasa but, John Nene reports for the BBC, streetwalkers there have a history of donning the buibui (a niqab that shows more of the face). Wearing black buibuis brings two advantages, allowing them to mingle with other women and to melt into the night when the police turn up. As one streetwalker puts it, “I'm better off wearing the buibui so I look respectable. I can avoid arrest.”

Of course, respectable women disapprove. “I feel so embarrassed that sometimes I contemplate removing my buibui and throwing it away. The buibui has lost its respect,” says one such woman, Mariam Salma.

This is not the first time prostitutes have donned the buibui, as Nene explains: “It was popular in the 1990s until a religious vigilante organisation illegally rounded up the prostitutes hiding under buibuis and flogged them publicly.”

Religious leaders are again upset. Sheikh Muhammad Khalifa, organising secretary of the Council of Imams of Kenya, worries about the police mistaking respectable women for prostitutes, and offers a solution. “For God's sake, if one has decided to join this profession, the uniform of prostitutes is well known. They should stick to their disgraceful attire.” (July 11, 2007)

The site of a suicide bombing in Bannu, Pakistan.
“Ban the Burqa – and the Niqab Too” is the title of my article today on the subject of this blog. (August 1, 2007)

Suspected Iraqi insurgent disguised as pregnant woman: The Multi-National Force in Iraq has posted a bulletin today indicating that several men were detained “during an air assault mission along the Euphrates River, Aug. 20. One of the men detained was dressed as a pregnant woman in an attempt to avoid capture.” (August 21, 2007)

Three men carrying explosives in Afghanistan: Itar-Tass relies on IRNA to report that a Russian citizen (“Andrei”) and two Afghans were found in Paktia, Afghanistan carrying about 500 kilograms of explosives in their automobile and were arrested as a suspected associates of terrorists; “all three men were wearing women's clothes,” we learn, though the brief news item does not specify that they wore a niqab or burqa. (August 28, 2007)

Bomber kills 15 in Pakistan: A burqa-wearing suicide bomber of undetermined sex has killed at least 15 people and injuring 22 at a crowded police checkpoint in Bannu, near the North Waziristan tribal region, about 110 miles south of Peshawar. The bomber was apparently in a rickshaw and set it off while being examined this morning. (October 1, 2007)

Burqa used to rob North Carolina bank: The People's Bank in Hiddenite, N.C. (population: 6,000) was robbed on October 16 by a person in a burgundy burqa at 3:45 p.m. who showed the teller a large semi-automatic handgun, demanded and received money, and fled in a burgundy sport utility vehicle. Police are unsure whether to look for a man or a woman; a close look at the bank video, visible on the WSOC-TV website, reveals it pretty clearly to be a female. The television report also gives some reactions from Hiddenite residents, unused to seeing burqas, much less on robbers. (October 17, 2007)

Rickets: Studies show that buraq-clad women (and their breast-fed children) are lacking in vitamin D, which the skin absorbs from sunlight, and so are at greater risk of rickets. Today's news from Blackburn in East Lancashire, UK, confirms the problem: “56 cases of rickets uncovered.” A study commissioned by the East Lancashire Primary Care Trust found, as the newspaper delicately puts it, that almost all the cases found are in the “South Asian community.” Further down, we learn that experts think Asian immigrants are more likely to have this problem “because of their darker skin, and Islam's requirements for clothing to cover limbs.” (October 29, 2007)

Would-be suicide bomber in Afghanistan: Here's the dramatic account from David Rohde writing from Gardez in the New York Times:

Afghan police officers working a highway checkpoint near here noticed something odd recently about a passenger in a red pickup truck. Though covered head to toe in a burqa, the traditional veil worn by Afghan women, she was unusually tall. When the police asked her questions, she refused to answer. When the veil was eventually removed, the police found not a woman at all, but Andre Vladimirovich Bataloff, a 27-year-old man from Siberia with a flowing red beard, pasty skin and piercing blue eyes. Inside the truck was 1,000 pounds of explosives. Afghan and American officials say the Siberian intended to be a suicide bomber, one of several hundred foreign militants who have gravitated to the region to fight alongside the Taliban this year, the largest influx since 2001.

(October 30, 2007)

Woman blows self up at Pakistan army checkpoint: A woman in burqa carrying a basket over her head, thought to be an Afghan in her 30s, blew herself in Peshawar as she approached a checkpost, presumably on behalf of the Taliban. She was the only casualty. (December 4, 2007)

Woman with bomb under burqa caught in Afghanistan: Afghan intelligence agents in Jalalabad detained a woman, 55, hiding a bomb under her burqa. She had been followed from Kunar after a tip-off before her arrest. An official in Kunar's intelligence department explained that “She was carrying the suicide waistcoat for the Taleban.” (December 24, 2007)

Wal-Mart not worried: Under pressure from CAIR's Nevada chapter, the world's largest retailer apologized to Muslim woman who claimed to have been mocked by a cashier on Feb. 2 who said to the shopper, “Please don't stick me up.” In a letter signed by Rolando Rodriquez, vice president and regional general manager, she was told, “I can assure you that the associate in question was disciplined in accordance with our employment policies as a result of the situation.” (February 20, 2008)

Friends Jewellers in Cape Hill, Smethwick, West Midlands, robbed by a burqa'ed thief and his accomplices.
Armed men rob British jewellery store: A 6-foot, 6-inch Asian man disguised himself on March 19 as a Muslim woman, put on a burqa, pushed an empty children's carriage, buzzing for entry at Raj Kumar's “Friends Jewellers” in Cape Hill, Smethwick, West Midlands. There was something not quite right about the height and appearance of this person, but the baby carriage persuaded staff to release the lock. On entry, he pulled out a gun and four other Asian men, their faces covered with ski masks, used their hammers to break into the store. They sprayed Kumar, his brother and the store's two security guards with pepper spray, attacked the owners, then broke into display cabinets, took 200,000 worth of 24-carat gold jewellery, and fled in two cars.

Kumar recounted the attack to the press. His mother who first spotted the burqa'ed figure just after 1 p.m..

The 6'6″ burqa'ed male thief outside Friends Jewellers, as the security camera caught him.
We have buzzer entry and he was trying to get my mum to let him in. She thought he looked too tall to be a woman but he had this pushchair with him. When she opened the door these men ran in from behind and used hammers to smash through the next door. It took them about five goes to get through the glass. They got us all in the face [with pepper spray]. One of them threw a claw hammer at me and they hit my brother's arm – he's got a big cut down it. We think this gang have raided other jewellery shops so we tried to prepare for something like this, but when it happened we just froze. We thought they had guns.

Almost as distressing as the robbery were the inane comments on it by two city councilors, both of whom seem to think this robbery was the first of its type. Keith Davies said: “I am a member of the police authority and I will be asking if this kind if think has happened before. It's the first time I have heard of anything like this. It calls up a lot of questions about how we deal with crime. I would hate to think there could be challenges on women walking round the streets in burkhas. It is really unusual.” Mohammed Rouf added: “I am really shocked. It seems they are trying to come up with new ideas to rob people. This is bad for the community and I am shocked that they would go this far just to steal.”

For pictures from the security camera, see the sequence at the Daily Mail's coverage. I reproduce one here. (March 22, 2008

Armed man threatens British security guard: A man “dressed in black and wearing a face covering believed to be a burka” threatened a Securicor security driver outside a supermarket in Birmingham on March 14 with what is thought to be a firearm wrapped in a black plastic bag. The driver got into his van and shut the sliding door, trapping the weapon in the door before the attacker could spring it, and ran off to the passenger seat of a nearby parked car. The police issued a statement: “Due to the similar circumstances, officers are exploring possible links with the robbery that took place at Friends Jewellers last week.” (March 22, 2008)

Al-Qaeda suspect in four murders caught in habaya in Mauritania: Marouf Ould Haiba is one of four suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists accused of ambushing and killing four French family members as they picnicked on Dec. 24, 2007, alongside a road near the town of Aleg, 155 miles south of Nouakchott. He was caught today in a taxi in the capital Nouakchott while disguised as a woman. Government spokesman Hindou Mint Hainina said that “He was disguised as a woman and was carrying a weapon under his dress. He had been trailed by the police for several days and is currently being questioned in Nouakchott's central police station.” Police spokesman Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Adda called him a “dangerous member of Al-Qaeda.” According to the police, when caught, Haiba was wearing habaya, a black robed garment that covers the head and entire body with just a slit for the eyes. (April 10, 2008)

Philadelphia real estate leasing office: Two men, dressed like Muslim women, pulled off an armed robbery today of a real estate leasing office in southwest Philadelphia, carjacked a van, and escaped in the van, only to abandon it and flee on foot. But an employee of the real estate company both pursued them and alerted the police. When the police caught up with the robbers, one of them, a 20-year-old, pointed a gun at Police Lt. Frank Vanore who shot him in the arm. The robber is listed in stable condition. (May 1, 2008)

Philadelphia bank, police officer killed: What is it about Philadelphia, burqas, and robberies? Here is the fourth incidence I am aware of, more than any other city:

Two men robbed the Bank of American branch inside the ShopRite in the Port Richmond section in the late morning today, then fled. When Police Sergeant Steven Liczbinski, 40, confronted them about 15 minutes later, they shot him three times with an AK-47 and he died soon after. Other police officers chased the two men and killed one of them. The police also searched a wooded area for another man and a woman connected to the bank robbery. According to an Associated Press report, “The man was described as black, stocky and wearing a white hospital mask. He had shoulder-length dreadlocks, but Little said officers cautioned that that could be wig. The woman, whose race was not known, was dressed in a head-to-toe light brown robe.” Another report described the woman wearing “Muslim-type garb.”

Comment: There is no reason to assume that the person in burqa is actually a woman.(May 3, 2008)