Islamism in Texas
An investigation into a Texas honor killing gets stonewalled.
Neena Nejad, a Los Angeles-based producer, has been working for almost two years now on a film documentary about Amina and Sarah Said, the two Muslim girls in Texas who were murdered by their father in an Islamic honor killing on New Year's Eve 2008. Nejad and her team have been working with many people and have uncovered some provocative new information about the girls' father, Yaser Said -- information that has never been revealed in public before.
Nejad and her crew just returned to Los Angeles from Texas. While they were in the Dallas area, they visited every place that at some point had been important in the lives of Amina and Sarah, and they talked to many, many people. Most of those people had never before talked to the media. Said Nejad: "It was such an emotional week talking to these people and getting to know Amina and Sarah better."
But then on Monday, April 8, the situation abruptly changed. Now Nejad and her crew felt not only unsafe but the work environment was definitely different.
We all were nervous. There were four people in our Texas crew (3 women and 1 man).
Our schedule on Monday was to try to talk to three members of the Said family: Mohsen Said, Yousri Said, and Islam Said. We knew that Islam was living with Yousri so we only had two houses to visit. We were recommended to try to talk first with the nicest of the brothers, Mohse Said. We were also told that approaching his wife Marybel would be easier and she would probably take us to Mohsen. Our goal was to set up an interview with one of them and hear what they had to say.
The day went as follows:
- I go to Marybel's job, hoping that I can tell her who we are and give her our business card for her to contact us later. I was told that she is not longer working at this place but they tell me that they have a good relationship with her and they decided to give her a call while I was there. She didn't pick up the phone and the asked for my number so I gave it to the person I talked to.
- Then, we decide to try Yousri's house since it was in the area. When we arrive and I go to ring the bell nobody opens, so we leave.
- Last stop was Mohsen's house. I walked to the front door and ring the bell. Mohsen's daughter, Reem Said opens the door and talks to me. At first when I asked for Mr. Mohsen or Mrs. Marybel, Reem informed me that they were inside the house. Then Reem asked me who I was and I explained to her that we were working on the story of Sarah and Amina... as soon as I pronounced the names, Reem rejected pretty much any other type of information. Reem talked a bit more by saying the they never talked about this story and that they will keep it that way. She said that media will twist everything and it's not worth it to even try. Then she talks a little bit about Islam being such a sweet guy (which some people told us in previous days). Reem was absolutely sweet to me. (FYI: I was set with a hidden mic before I went in. We couldn't risk for anything to happen to me if I got inside the house so my team was monitoring that conversation and it got recorded). Then Reem gives me back my business card and she says that she appreciates us coming but they wont be interested so I leave. This was the END for us. We tried. It didn't work out. It was over.
- I get back in the car and we are trying to leave this town and start looking for a place to have lunch before the next interview we had set up. While we are driving, we get a call on our work number which is forwarded to my personal cell. I answer the call and Marybel is screaming at me: "Why did you come to my house and harass my daughter?" and I was explaining to her that there was no harassment, that I just went over and told her what I was doing, and that when Reem said she wasn't interested I just left. I also told her that our conversation was nice.
Before I finished explaining to Marybel, Mohsen took the phone and started screaming nonstop. I tried to talk but he wouldn't listen. He said that we were harassing his daughter, then I said that she had a nice conversation and asked him that is he thought I was harassing her daughter why didn't he come out to talk to me in person instead of listening from the other side of the door? He started calling me names: fag, whore, bitch cunt... many many many many times, nonstop. I tried to tell him that there was no need for this and he kept going. He then said that he knew who we were, that he knew we were in town, that he had contacts and he was going to find us and kill us. Then I asked why would he try to find us when I tried to talked to him 15 minutes ago and he said that we would find out when he found us. More names, bitch, whore, bitch, whore.... I said that if he was trying to scare us if wouldn't work out.... I'm going to find you and then you will see, more names.... HANG UP!
We got very scared at that point. We knew that these people are capable of anything. Specially after everything we found out about this story.
- He didn't like for a woman not to get scared over the phone and made him more upset.
- This is a confirmation for us that he was involved in Amina and Sarah murders. No reason why someone would get so upset for nothing. Thank God we didn't show up there with a camera and asking "Where is Yaser Said?"
- He thought the story was dead and all of a sudden he realized that someone is actually doing a full feature on the girl's story.
- Thank God he was the nicest of the brothers. I wouldn't like to deal with the less friendly.
We are scared. We all changed our Facebook, Twitter... I had to change my privacy setting on my social media, change my location etc... We know these people are capable of planning a murder. Since that day, they called twice more but we didn't pick up the phone. We can see our stats for The Price of Honor rising in the areas where these people live so they are for sure checking us out.
We went to the police station in a city nearby after we got the call. This was the Arlington Police Department and let me tell you that I wasn't surprised. After we all explained the situation to the officer basically he said that if we chase the bad guy and we get shot then we can't really complaint about it. Yes, he said that and we left amazed by it. He said we could file a report if we wanted but it would be useless and we would put it in the archive right away plus we would have to wait over 3 hours to do it even though nobody else was at the station.
The day after we were shooting in Lewisville and decided to go to the police department. They said that we could file an information report to leave proof of this and that's all we wanted. We didn't want to go after him because that would make him more angry, we just wanted to make sure that if anything happened, we had proof on paper. Sadly, we couldn't file a report because the incident didn't happen in that city and we were told to file this report in our own city which is impossible because we don't live in Texas. So we are now trying to find out how to proceed with the California law so there is proof on paper of what happened in Texas. I have a feeling things will be easier here.
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