Community reacts to St. Louisans charged with arming ISIS

Members of the local community are reacting to the news that three St. Louisans have been charged with arming ISIS.

Friday evening, a federal indictment was unsealed charging 40-year-old Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, his wife, 35-year-old Sedina Unkic Hodzic, and 37-year-old Armin Harcevic, all of St. Louis County. They are accused of arming and funding ISIS. The indictment claims the Hodzics sent ISIS everything from rifle scopes to cash, which they collected in St. Louis.

Three others are also named in the indictment: Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York, Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Illinois, and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois.

Local reaction to the news has been a mixture of shock and frustration.

Related: St. Louisans charged with arming ISIS

Larry and Joyce Sorth live two doors away from the Hodzics, and manage the condominium property.

"It was very shocking," Larry said Saturday. "We had no inclination of any problems at all. I mean, very nice people -- as far as personality. We didn't get to know them that well. But they were very nice people."

Sorth said several Bosnian families live in the complex, and have all been wonderful neighbors. He said the Dozics said the couple lived there about 18 months and had three children.

"We're very concerned about the children," he said. "Very sweet, very polite, very kind."

Members of the Bosnian and Muslim communities quickly condemned the suspect's actions.

In a statement released Friday night, the United Bosnian Association said:

"We as a community are in shock and condemn any acts of terrorism as well as supporting any of it. As with any group of people there are some that do harmful things to society, unfortunately we have those as well. As with any other criminals the law and the system will bring them to justice."

"These people do not represent Islam," Dr. Ghazala Hayat, a spokesperson for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, said.

"They happen to be Muslim, but that has nothing to do with what Islam teaches. They have, either radical ideas or they have been, I think, deranged by ISIS," she guessed.

Hayat said local Muslims and Bosnians are worried they will face a backlash now. She hope to educate people about the difference between those who simply practice their religion, and those who become extremists.

"None of these acts... carried out [are] a depiction of what Islam does," she said. "None of these acts which happened, [and] we don't know what else --if they were aiding and abetting ISIS -- is what the Bosnian community is."

Also see:

Firearms now top non-medical killer in Mo.
ISIS tries to influence criminals in Ferguson
Jordan war plane crashes; ISIL captures pilot


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