Tashfeen and Farook “Devout Muslims”

Lawyers representing the family of the California mass shooters have described the couple as devout Muslims but said there was no sign they had become radicalised.

Syed Farook, 28, and his 27-year-old wife Tashfeen Malik died in a shootout with police, hours after killing 14 people at a year-end party organised by Farook’s employer in San Bernardino on Wednesday (local time).

The FBI said the shooting, the deadliest in the country in three years, was being treated as an “act of terrorism” but there was no evidence yet linking the pair to a network.

“There is no sign that the alleged shooters belonged to a larger organisation or a terrorist cell,” David Chesley, one of two lawyers representing the family, told a news conference.

The family’s lawyers said Farook and Malik, who lived in a townhouse with their baby daughter and Farook’s mother, were quiet and kept to themselves.

Chesley said Tashfeen, who met Farook on an online dating site in 2013 and married him a year later in Saudi Arabia, was traditional and devout.

“There is very little information we have about her,” he said, describing her as a “typical housewife”.

Lawyer Mohammad Abuershaid said few people came in contact with Tashfeen, who was born in Pakistan, wore the full-face veil and did not drive.

“The women [in the family] communicated with her. Farook didn’t want anyone else to talk to her,” Abuershaid said. “She was very soft spoken and nice.”

When Farook’s family members came to visit, he said, the women sat in one room and the men in another.

“This is a very traditional way of acting,” Abuershaid said. “So the men did not interact with her.”

Although there is a need for this couple to be seen as terrorists, or IS sympathisers or even radicalised by people looking for an excuse to drag the USA into the mess, the authorities and media have been reluctant to call this a terrorist act performed by Muslims.  Even the FBI are coming up short.

“If there’s anything remarkable about the [interview] that took place yesterday, it is that no ties [to extremist groups] could really be established to the point of frustration on the part of the FBI,” Chesley said.

He also appeared to downplay reports Tashfeen had posted a message on Facebook around the time of the attacks expressing support for the leader of the radical Islamic State group.

“The entire world is digging for information and the most we’ve gotten so far is somebody looked at something on Facebook,” Chesley said.

So on the one hand frustration exists that there is no link to IS / ISIS / terrorism.   But then it struck me:

If devout Muslims can do this sort of thing, without being ‘radicalised’, without being directed or inspired by IS/ISIS, without being a sleeper cell, or even without being “lone wolves”…

…just exactly how much trouble is the world in?

It would actually be  more comforting to find these people had terrorist ties.  The fact they don’t and still shot people up for being the wrong religion is very much a worse outcome.  We can stop using radicalisation as an excuse now.

– AFP. via 3 News


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