Monday, December 28, 2015

Why is the San Bernardino imam lying?

Although no evidence has emerged to suggest that the planning of the mass murder in San Bernardino by husband-wife terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik involved others from their mosque — though their neighbor, Enrique Martinez, who purchased the assault rifles that were used to kill 14 innocents and was later arrested on terrorism charges — it now looks like the imam, who served as the mosque’s spokesman, lied to the FBI regarding his connections to the couple and their ties to his mosque, according to the New York Post:

“The cleric acting as spokesman for the San Bernardino mosque where terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook worshipped claims he barely knew Farook and didn’t know his terrorist wife at all. But phone records and other evidence uncovered by federal investigators cast doubt on his story. The FBI has questioned the cleric, Roshan Zamir Abbassi, about his phone communications with Farook — including a flurry of at least 38 messages over a two-week span in June, coinciding with the deadly Muslim terrorist attack on two military sites in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“Abbassi, a Pakistani, insists he had nothing to do with the shooting at a San Bernardino County government building five miles from the mosque. While he confirms the text messages with Farook, he claims they were merely discussing food donations for his Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamiya of America mosque. Abbassi maintained at a press conference that he didn’t know Farook any better than he knew the reporters in the room.” 

The problem with Abbassi’s story is that it is contradicted by others at the Islamic religious center, and it seems likely Abbassi had taught Farook the Arabic language:

“Members of the mosque say Farook was a fixture there. He had been coming to pray and study at least three times a week for two years. In fact, he memorized the Koran there, something you cannot do without learning Arabic, a subject Abbassi teaches.”

But did Abbassi also not know Tashfeen Malik, as Abbassi and his assistant imam claimed?

“No one knows anything about his wife,” assistant imam Mahmood Nadvi agreed. “She never came to prayer.”

The NY Post appears to have found that statement to be untrue, too:

“Longtime mosque member Gasser Shehata, who claimed to have prayed “shoulder to shoulder” with Farook, said Dar-al-Uloom prepared a chicken-and-rice dinner to celebrate the couple’s wedding last year. Reportedly, hundreds of congregants attended the walima reception, including the mosque leadership.”

The real question is not so much one of lies about their religious association, but more whether the terrorists became radicalized at the mosque or adopted their homicidal ideology elsewhere. Abbassi claims his mosque is peaceful. 

“He said the mosque teaches only peace, insisting no one has even an ‘extremist idea. In Islam, we are against innocent killing.’”

The problem is that Mr. Abbassi’s idea of “innocence” is not within the American mainstream. His paranoid ideology appears to be more in alignment with the terror groups attacking the West and blaming the United States for troubles in the Middle East.

“Abbassi recently posted a message on Facebook condemning the United States and other Western nations for their Mideast policies, arguing they are equally guilty of violence to achieve political and religious goals. His mosque’s Web page features a video claiming that the San Bernardino shooting was carried out by the US government in a “false flag conspiracy,” and that Farook and Malik were “patsies” assassinated “by government-sponsored perpetrators.”

Being associated with terrorists is not unique to Roshan Zamir Abbassi in his family. His brother has ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist who apparently played a role in inspiring Mr. Farook’s hatred of the United States.

“Another person of interest is Abbassi’s brother, Mohammad Sabir Abbassi, a Muslim activist who serves as a trustee and English teacher at the San Diego mosque once headed by the late al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. FBI Agent Joel Anderson said in court filings that Farook indicated he was a big fan of Awlaki and listened to a series of sermons about jihad and martyrdom called “The Hereafter.”

“In his filing, Anderson says Farook studied the ultra-orthodox Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat. US officials say the cult, with 50,000 members, is rife with jihadists, and jihadi groomers are recruiting at mosques in at least 10 states.”

Roshan Abbassi has said, “We have nothing to hide.” As the New York Post concludes, there is good reason to doubt Mr. Abbassi’s word.

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