Palestina Isa's grave, with her father's name misspelled.
In November 1989 in St. Louis, the FBI inadvertently tape recorded the entire episode of a teenage girl's being killed by her Palestinian father and Brazilian mother (the Feds were looking for evidence of terrorism, which they also found). In a ghastly eight-minute sequence, Zein Isa stabbed his daughter Palestina thirteen times with a butcher's knife as his wife held the girl down and responded to Palestina's pleas for help with a brutal "Shut up!" The killing ends with Zein screaming "Die! Die quickly! Die quickly! . . . Quiet, little one! Die, my daughter, die!" By this time, she is dead.
Harris, a St. Louis television reporter, has done admirable spade work going through the court transcripts and interviewing everyone connected to the case in an attempt to piece together the interlocking stories of family murder and active support of Abu Nidal's terrorist organization. In addition, she successfully conjures up the small and exceedingly unpleasant world of Zein Isa and his family of rabid anti-Americans living right in the American heartland.
The murder culminates their lives of frustration, greed, and vulgarity. Unfortunately, Harris spent more effort digging up information than she did writing the book; so the more-than-casual reader must read and reread its pages to piece together the sequence of events and the scope of the Isa family's involvement with Abu Nidal. Doing so repays the effort, however, for Harris has compiled a treasure trove of materials on two usually elusive subjects.
Zein Isa, the murderer of his child and terrorist supporter.
Feb. 8, 1997 update: Zein Isa, 65, died yesterday while on death row, of diabetes complications after a long illness, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
June 21, 1997 update: The Missouri Supreme Court overturned Maria Isa's death sentence; she now has life in prison.
Feb. 24, 2013 update: The comments on this review indicate that this page has become a place for those who knew Palestine Isa to memorialize her. Here are some of them:
This is a likely but not verified picture of a young Palestina Isa.
friend of Tina's sister, Soraia
i'm soraias and tina's niece
Classmate of Tina's – complete with a poem from the school yearbook dedicated to Palestina Isa.
A Web of Evil
i hate to be the one to deal with this...
Respond to Allie and Anon
info on parents
Apr. 21, 2013 update: A writer who identifies himself as Steve writes in a comment on this page about Maria Isa:
Maria Isa, mother of Palestina.
I am a journalist and worked undercover for a three-part report I did on the Vandalia, Missouri prison where Maria Isa is currently incarcerated. I remember her well from working in her housing unit multiple times (I worked there a year). … From my first-hand knowledge of supervising her, she shows no remorse over her daughter's death.
Related Topics: Criminality, Muslims in the United States, Sex and gender relations
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