It’s been two weeks since an Atlanta-area mother and her daughter were attacked at their home by a burqa-clad Muslim woman who stole the American flag from their front yard and charged at them, swinging the flagpole at the mother’s head.
The family says their lives have been turned upside down by the attack, and they don’t go anywhere now unless armed. Two weeks later, they say they’re still waiting for answers from their local police chief and the FBI.
Who attacked them and why?
Dami Arno and her husband, Jimmy of Lawrenceville, Georgia, told WND they are now wondering whether justice will ever be served.
And they want to know why Dami’s attacker – a woman believed to be an immigrant from Somalia – is not being charged with a hate crime. They also want to know why their attacker’s immigration status is being guarded like a state secret while they, the victims, are being ignored by authorities.
Dami and Jimmy Arno said the Lawrenceville police officer who responded to the May 31 incident told them he could not remove the assailant’s burqa “because that would violate her civil rights.”
It seems, the Arnos told WND, that the immigrant has more “rights” than they do as Americans who were the victim of an attack for no other reason than that the Muslim woman apparently didn’t like the large American flag flying from their mailbox.
All that is known about the female attacker is her name, and even that has changed over the course of the last two weeks.
Amina Ali Ahra, 30, emerged from the woods behind the Arnos’ home on the morning after Memorial Day as Dami Arno and her daughter were drinking coffee and chatting in their garage. The woman, standing about 6-foot-3 and dressed in a burqa, came out of the woods with only her eyes showing from behind the veil.
Ahra snatched the family’s flag off of their mailbox and used the pole as if it were a police night stick. She swung the four-foot pole made of PVC pipe wildly toward Dami’s head but missed.
“She came charging at me swinging it back and forth, actually coming toward my head with the flagpole, and I grabbed the pole and yanked it and was able to get control of her. And my daughter said I had her in a headlock,” said Dami Arno, a 42-year-old stay-at-home mother of two. “I could not believe what was happening, but at some point my mother instincts kicked in.
“My husband is a mechanic, and I work right beside him doing pretty much everything he does, and that’s made me very, very strong,” she added. “I thank God every day now that my husband has taught me and my kids to defend ourselves.”
The Muslim woman did not utter a word during the assault, said Arno, who was left with bruises on her arms.
Now WND has learned that another woman in the neighborhood was approached the night before by a woman in a burqa. She was afraid and ran into her house but did not report the stranger in the small, two-street neighborhood because she feared she would be considered a “racist.”
Since the attack, Jimmy Arno said he has twice called Lawrenceville Police Chief Randy Johnson, trying to set up a meeting in which the chief could provide information on his wife’s attacker. The chief has yet to call him back, he said.
Ahra was charged with two counts of simple battery and giving false information to police. She apparently lied about her name and address in the initial interviews.
“I called the chief the day it happened, as soon as I got off work and left him a message. My wife friended his wife on Facebook, and we left her a message on Facebook,” Jimmy Arno told WND. “I told him we didn’t like the charges that were filed, and I think more charges are warranted, and I want a call back. He still hasn’t called.”
A local officer told Arno the case was turned over to the FBI for possible hate-crime charges. An agent named Chuck Campo was “look into” the case, but no one from the FBI has contacted the family to interview them about what happened.
“We are trying to get a hold of him,” Jimmy Arno said. “I want to know whatever he knows. I want Chuck Campo to sit down with us in our kitchen with his files and I want some answers.”
WND contacted Lawrenceville Chief Randy Johnson, who denied he had received any voicemail messages from the Arnos.
“I have not heard from them,” the chief said. “I have not received a call of any type from them, no voicemail or email.”
Johnson said he has “no idea what they want to meet about.”
He said he does not know the alleged attacker’s country of origin. Nor does he know her motive for attacking a family flying a flag.
“I do not have those answers, Sir,” he told WND. “I do not know (what country she is from).”
As for the charges, he said they were “appropriate.”
“We charged them with what we felt was appropriate. There’s not a hate-crime law in Georgia. And the FBI has been contacted, and they’re gonna look at it to see if in fact she could be charged federally.
“I wasn’t out there to see exactly what happened,” the chief continued. “From what I’ve seen and what I know about the case, I feel like she was charged appropriately. The FBI has been contacted. They’re looking at this, and if they see the need for her to be charged federally for a hate crime, then they will in fact pursue those charges.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which supposedly monitors and tracks “hate crimes” in the United States, has been missing in action.
Jimmy Arno says his family has received support from people across America on their Facebook page. But he doesn’t expect any hate-crime charges to come out of the Obama Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who has vowed to prosecute Americans who speak out critically against Muslims in the wake of Islamic terror attacks (she was later forced to walk back the comments).
“If it had been the other way around, Barack Obama would have gone to their house and apologized to them, and charged us,” Jimmy Arno said.
He believes, at the very least, the Muslim woman should have been slapped with the additional charges of trespassing, felony assault and destruction of private property.
“I’ve taught my kids to respect people of all nationalities and all races until they don’t deserve your respect,” he said. “We’re not racist people. If that woman had appeared in a burqa and asked for a cup of coffee, she would have been drinking coffee in the garage rather than in a fight. That’s the kind of people we are.
“I don’t know what the answer is. I just know that the day after Memorial Day, our lives changed.”
Ahra remains in the Gwinnett County jail, police said.
Capt. Greg Vaughan, spokesman for Lawrenceville Police, told WND the police could not charge Ahra with assault with a deadly weapon because the flagpole, made of PVC pipe, was not capable of causing death.
Asked if Ahra spoke with a Somali or other foreign accent, Vaughan said, “I don’t know.”
Dami Arno said she has a friend who works at the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office who told her the attacker was of Somali origin living in the U.S. on some type of visa or possibly a green card.
WND also called the Sheriff’s Office and was told they could not give out the immigration status.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman told WND in an email that the agency has had “no contact” with Ahra.
“This individual is not subject to an ICE detainer,” said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox. “As such, this agency has no contact with her.
“While I can’t discuss this person’s information, I can tell you that, in general, if a person were in the country unlawfully a battery charge would typically warrant the issuance of an ICE detainer; which, again, has not been issued.”
That means Ahra was likely a legal resident of the United States, possibly a refugee from Africa, most likely Somalia. She originally told police the day of the incident she was “from Africa.”
Dami Arno said she fought off her attacker and wrestled her to the ground. Two neighbors arrived to help, pinning the large woman down until police arrived.
“The four of us sat on her until the police got there,” she said. “It felt like an hour. The report said they arrived in three minutes, but it felt like forever.”
Her son came out with the family pistol and was ready to fire if the woman had not been wrestled to the ground.
“He did everything right. He showed restraint by not shooting her. He did everything he was supposed to do,” Jimmy Arno said of his son. “Now I just want my government to do what it is supposed to do.”
He said he’s not expecting the Obama administration to commend his son for his bravery or to call his wife to offer a consoling word.
“My daughter, Brittany, talked about Clock Boy,” said Dami Arno. “He made a clock that looked like a bomb, and he got invited to the White House. We got attacked, my son had to defend me, and we haven’t gotten so much as a phone call.”
Jimmy Arno said the attack has changed the family’s outlook on life. The peaceful subdivision on the outskirts of town has changed, too.
“But I’m changed,” he added. “We don’t move to a different room in the house without asking, ‘Do you have the gun?’ I call home 10 or 12 times before lunch to make sure my wife and kids are OK. I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to mow the grass with a gun strapped to my side.”
Dami Arno said she and her daughter still have nightmares about the attack and how it could have turned out differently.
“I mean, how many times do you stand there and watch someone attack you from your own driveway, and how many times does a 14-year-old boy have to pull a gun?” she asked. “He has been trained, but it’s still traumatic. He still questions whether he did the right thing. He does get reassurance, but it’s hard on a 14-year-old boy. But he did have the decision-making skills to say, ‘Nope, she hasn’t taken my momma down yet, so I’m not gonna shoot her.'”
Jimmy Arno said he did get one small bit of satisfaction. When he arrived home early from work, the police still had Ahra on site in their patrol car.
“I grabbed a brand new flag and put on the flagpole and put back up, right there with her watching. It had to happen,” Jimmy Arno said. “It was important for her to know, OK, you’re not going to come in here and stop us in this neighborhood from flying the American flag.”
He’s also proud of his son.
“I know my son is gonna have my back when I’m not here,” he said. “Knowing he will protect his momma and sister makes me proud. My wife is 42 years old and never been in a fight before in her life, but the flag, here at this house, it means something.”
His wife agrees. The flag is to be defended.
“We’ve got to figure out what we can do to stop them (from attacking) because, as an American, I’m not going down like that and not giving up,” Dami Arno said. “The people who fought and died to make us free are just too important to just give up and let them win.”