Thursday, 3 December 2015

Jihad in California?

By now it seems to be becoming increasingly clear that the terrible mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, yesterday was not in fact yet another example of a crazy white weirdo with an assault rifle going on an attention-grabbing killing spree, but an Islamic jihad attack.

While the media fixates on American gun control laws, the identities and background of the main shooter appear to be slipping under the radar somewhat.

The main suspect, named as Syed Farook, was described as "very religious" by his father, who added: "He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim."

We are told by one of Farook's co-workers that the shooter "grew out his beard several months ago", most likely as a token of renewed Islamic piety, given the importance of the beard in Islamic religious observance.

He had a Twitter account, and while he had never posted anything, he was following a number of pages promoting Islam, Palestinian and Syrian jihadists, and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Farook was also, according to CNN, "apparently radicalized and in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism".

Police also discovered 12 pipe bombs at the home of the suspects, suggesting that the attack was more planned than spontaneous.

And yet despite all of this, the authorities and the media are of course tying themselves in knots to find any other motive they possibly can for this - anything but Islam. Hilariously, one analyst even referred to the shooting as "a kind of hybrid workplace jihad", suggesting that Farook was simply spontaneously angry with some co-workers despite the extensive planning that clearly went into the attack.

But such is the world we live in now. I expect we will learn much more about what motivated Syed Farook and his siblings to commit this vile deed in the coming days, but regardless it's worth noting that for the world's media and political leaders, as well as a distressingly large proportion of the public, even when the perpetrators say it has everything to do with actually has nothing to do with Islam.

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