As is so often the case, the media reporting on this story is as interesting as the story itself.
You may have seen the story about Julissa Magdalena Maradiaga-Iscoa, a Honduran national who on Thursday afternoon drove her car into a Miami Police cruiser at Miami International Airport. She jumped out after the crash and began screaming in what was thought to be Arabic. She then shouted in English that she had a bomb.
According to a Miami-Dade detective:
The woman was driving a silver Toyota when…she ‘made a right turn and drove through the inner loop making an intentional attempt to breach airport security by attempting to drive her vehicle through the airport entrance.’
She ended up instead crashing into the patrol car. She was arrested and turned over to the FBI. One concourse of the airport was shut down for several hours as a bomb squad was brought in, but no bomb was found, either there or in her car.
Maradiaga-Iscoa was arraigned Friday in federal court. The FBI denies a link to organized terrorism:
“At this time there appears to be no nexus to terrorism,” FBI special agent Michael Leverock said in a statement.
If you heard this story, but didn’t see the photos of Maradiaga-Iscoa in a hijab, you’d have only the passing reference to her “screaming in Arabic” as a clue to what may have motivated her – and that clue is tentative, given that bystanders may not have been correct about what language she was screaming in. (If their first thought was “Arabic,” of course, that suggests she was screaming “Allahu akbar,” which is the main Arabic phrase most people know.)
But La Prensa of Honduras is less primly PC and more informative than the English-language Western media. La Prensa (in Spanish) reports on an interview with Maradiaga-Iscoa’s sister, Jenny Iscoa, who says that Julissa converted to Islam several years ago and is married (her second marriage) to an Arab Muslim, by whom she is pregnant. She lives in a trailer park in Lake Worth, Florida. (Julissa has two children by a former marriage, who live with their father, according to Jenny Iscoa.)
La Prensa reports that Maradiaga-Iscoa shouted at police during her arrest: “I can’t talk to you because I am a Muslim!”
According to La Prensa, Miami criminal attorney Sherleen Mendez, interviewed for their story, thinks Maradiaga-Iscoa may face a sentence of several years for her crime, but the justice system may be influenced by the possibility that she is bipolar. And it may be. If she’s diagnosed as bipolar, we’ll probably hear about that. But probably not about the obvious fact that she’s a Muslim.