FBI Looking At Ties Between Muslim Cleric and San Bernardino Shooters

FBI Looking At Ties Between Muslim Cleric and San Bernardino Shooters

Phone records and text messages between Roshan Zamir Abbassi and San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook are being examined by the FBI, according to the New York Post. Abbassi is a cleric and spokesman for the mosque that Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik attended, Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamiya of America.

Malik and Farook, the San Bernardino shooters
Malik and Farook, the San Bernardino shooters

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.

However, others are telling a completely different story about the relationship between Farook and the mosque, and that the mosque leadership was fully aware of the marriage between Farook and Malik.

Abbassi maintained at a press conference that he didn’t know Farook any better than he knew the reporters in the room. But 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 at there (sic), something you cannot do without learning Arabic, a subject Abbassi teaches.

His other assertion that he never even saw Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, also strains credulity. Malik joined her husband in shooting 35 of his government co-workers at a Christmas party.

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

But 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.

Despite his denials, Abbassi must know that he is being scrutinized, which is why he probably tried to wave the conspiracy flag.

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.”

The San Bernardino shootings may finally give the FBI the leverage to seriously investigate mosques that have long been on their radar as potential terror recruitment outlets. Whether or not they are allowed to do anything with the evidence that is gathered is a completely different question.

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Ava Gardner