California shooter Syed Rizwan Farook was a devout Muslim who made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2013 and prayed regularly at a mosque in Riverside, California and later at one in nearby San Bernardino, officials at the mosques said on Thursday.
And that has left them all the more puzzled about his killing spree on Wednesday.
“He is someone who used to listen to my sermons, my talks here,” said Mustafa Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside. “I sat up last night thinking about him and what’s happened.”
Kuko has trouble understanding how Farook could have betrayed the very principles of his religion. “We’re told in Islam if you take one human life, it’s as if you’ve taken all of mankind.”
Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, his wife and mother of his 6-month-old daughter, were killed in a shootout with police after the couple opened fire at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in the city of San Bernardino, killing 14 people.
Mahmood Nadvi, an assistant imam at the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah-Amer mosque in San Bernardino, which Farook began attending in 2014, was equally disturbed. “You can’t be a true Muslim and sleep after this,” he said “We weep for our brothers and sisters lost in humanity.”
Kuko recalls that Farook attended prayers at the Riverside mosque first thing in the morning and last thing at night until he abruptly quit showing up for services in 2014. “He was a very quiet person, peaceful, never had any argument with anyone or dispute,” he recalled.
The year before, in 2013, Kuko said, Farook told him about a Pakistani woman living in Saudi Arabia whom he hoped to marry, and he asked for Kuko’s blessing. Later that year, Farook married Malik in Saudi Arabia and returned with her to celebrate the union at the Islamic Center in Riverside with a party for an estimated 250 to 300 people.
Kuko recalls Farook that night as being “very much pleased, relaxed, comfortable,” he said. “We didn’t infer anything abnormal.”
Nizaam Ali, a 23-year-old student who got to know Farook after he began attending the San Bernardino mosque, recalled Farook’s saying his wife wore the niqab, a veil that covers the entire face except for the eyes, and that he liked that about her.
Kuko said he couldn’t recall ever hearing Farook express extreme ideology. “If he had ever expressed his ideas, we could have tried to stop it,” he said. “We would have shut it down.”
In the wake of the shootings, the San Bernardino mosque received a phone threat that prompted an investigation by police, Nadvi said.
Friday’s prayer, known as the Jummah prayer, will be guarded by police between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. as an expected 300 people gather to pray.
At the Riverside mosque, as many as 1,700 people typically show up for Friday prayer. One focus of their thoughts and prayers this week will be for Anies Kondoker, a mosque member who was among those injured in Wednesday’s shooting, Kuko said. She has three children and her husband is the program director.
(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb, writing by Robin Respaut; Editing by Sue Horton and Cynthia Osterman)
Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi collapses and dies in court, state TV says
Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after collapsing in court, state TV said on Monday.
Egypt's public broadcaster said the 67-year-old former president was attending a session in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.
Morsi, who hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country's first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
NBC SCOTUS reporter Pete Williams: ‘I don’t know what the Court wins’ in anti-gay Sweetcakes case ‘except time’
NBC News' Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court's order in the "Sweetcakes" case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.The U.S. Supreme Court set aside the $135,000 the anti-gay bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweetcakes by Melissa, were ordered to pay to the same-sex couples they refused, and told the lower court to re-examine the case in light of the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Colorado anti-gay Christian baker Jack Phillips – which the court had originally made clear applied only to the Phillips case. The Court ruled Phillips was the victim of anti-religious animus by the state.Now, Pete Williams appears to be wondering about the Supreme Court's order, sending the case back to a lower court for review.Asked what today's decision means, Williams responds, "I'm not sure," then delivered his report."So today the Supreme Court sent this Oregon case back with instructions to reconsider in light of the Colorado case, but none of the infirmities that existed in the Colorado case are present in the Oregon case, so I'm not exactly sure what the Oregon courts are going to conclude from this," Williams told viewers."My guess is that if the state sues again, and it probably will, the Oregon courts will rule the same way and the case will come back here," meaning to the Supreme Court."I don't know what the [Supreme] Court gains here other than perhaps time, and letting other cases like this percolate up," Williams said.Exactly.It would appear the Supreme Court is attempting to lay the groundwork for special religious rights that would supersede the rights of LGBTQ people to not be discriminated against.It would appear Williams might agree.Watch:
Cops briefly suspended after video of them beating 16-year-old girl goes viral
Officers in Lansing, Michigan, were placed on leave after video appeared on social media showing them striking a 16-year-old girl, reports WILX.
The officers approached a home where they suspected the girl and a 14-year-old boy -- wanted on probation violations, escape from custody, and runaway warrants -- were staying, police said.
The teens tried to flee, but were captured soon after. After the girl resisted being put into a police car, video shows an officer beat her on the leg.