Meet the Farooks: The Modern Jihad Family

How did this anything-but-moderate family not attract any law enforcement attention?

When Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered fourteen people and wounded twenty-one at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, Farook’s family, having lawyered up, instructed its legal representatives to tell the world how shocked – shocked! – they were by the massacre. However, just as Captain Renault is handed his winnings immediately after telling Rick Blaine of his shock that gambling was going on in Rick’s Café Americain, so also in this case did the family’s shock seem increasingly less genuine the more that became known about them.

Initially, however, the lie was fed easily to a credulous mainstream media. One of the Farook family lawyers, David Chesley, immediately found the nearest microphone and declared: “None of the family members had any idea that this was going to take place. They were totally shocked.”

Even in stories that reported this, however, the story started to unravel. No sooner had the Associated Press quoted Chesley that it noted that he and another Farook family lawyer, Mohammad Abuershaid, said that “Farook’s mother lived with the couple but she stayed upstairs and didn’t notice they had stockpiled 12 pipe bombs and well over 4,500 rounds of ammunition.”

Farook’s mother didn’t notice the twelve pipe bombs and well over 4,500 rounds of ammunition because she “stayed upstairs”? Was she an invalid, then, who never ventured downstairs at all? If so, why did the couple leave their six-month-old daughter in her care when they went off to shoot Infidels for Allah?

And now it has come out that Mom did venture downstairs now and again after all, and that her eye may indeed have caught the site of a stray pipe bomb or two. According to the Daily Mail, “FBI agents found an empty GoPro package, shooting targets and tools inside a car belonging to” Rafia Farook, Syed’s mother. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik mounted GoPro cameras on their body armor before they began their jihad massacre; apparently, like other jihad killers before them, they hoped to cheer and encourage the faithful with scenes of the bloodbath. Authorities are investigating the possibility that Rafia Farook aided in the planning and preparation of the San Bernardino jihad massacre.

Rafia might have taken this car to meetings of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), of which she was an active member. ICNA openly supports Sharia and the caliphate, and has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to the Pakistani jihad group Jamaat-e-Islami.

The family’s shock at the murders appears even more feigned in light of revelations from Syed Rizwan Farook’s father, who is also named Syed Farook. The elder Syed has characterized his ex-wife Rafia as “very religious,” like the killer, to whom he referred as Rizwan. “Rizwan was the mama’s boy,” he recounted, “and she is very religious like him. Once we had a dispute about the historical figure of Jesus, my son yelled that I was an unbeliever and decided that marriage with my wife had to end.” The son insisted on the divorce because he considered the father an “unbeliever.”

What’s more, old man Farook said that his son was an open supporter of the Islamic State, and, of course, hated Israel: “He said he shared the ideology of al-Baghdadi to create an Islamic state, and he was obsessed with Israel.” Moderate “unbeliever” Papa then told his son to bide his time since, in the immortal words of Tom Lehrer, everybody hated the Jews: “I kept telling him always: stay calm, be patient, in two years Israel will no longer exist. Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China, America too, nobody wants the Jews there.” Moderate!

So right in the heart of sunny Redlands, California, where Syed Rizwan and Tashfeen lived with their baby and Rafia (however safely ensconced upstairs, away from the pipe bombs, Grandma may have been), there was an open supporter of the Islamic State and an open supporter of the concept of the caliphate. Then we must not forget the winsome Tashfeen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack, was linked to a jihadi mosque in Pakistan, and who had become, in one of her teacher’s words, “a religious person” who often told people “to live according to the teachings of Islam.” 

Despite all that and more, Tashfeen passed FBI and DHS background checks and was allowed to enter the United States. And as she and her loving hubby amassed pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition, authorities didn’t bat an eye. No report has indicated that they were ever questioned, or were under any kind of surveillance, or were on any watch list. 

After all, they were just pious Muslims – and anyone who believes that pious Muslims who are assembling pipe bombs might be up to no good is a racist, bigoted Islamophobe, right? But now the Farooks, the modern jihad family, and the fourteen dead left in their wake, stand as a lesson as to how urgently our law enforcement and intelligence operations need to adopt a realistic approach to the jihad threat, and to discard today’s prevailing politically correct fantasies. But the dead bodies are going to have to be piled up much higher for that reform even to become a possibility.

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