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Muslim Killings in the US: Jihad or Criminality?

Both law enforcement, the media and elected officials are reluctant to give out information about the attackers' religion, much less their motives.
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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

A recent spate of killings in the United States of non-Muslims by Muslims has gone unnoticed by the major media. Here are four cases I know of:

Feb. 5Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, Egyptian born and living in Jersey City, stands accused of shooting, then cutting off the heads and hands of two Copts, Hanny F. Tawadros and Amgad A. Konds, and burying them in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey. He is charged with two counts of murder and with desecrating human remains. He is also wanted for a Sep. 20, 2012, armed robbery in Jersey City in which a victim was shot in the foot.

Feb. 18Ali Syed, 20, of Ladera Ranch, Calif., went on a shooting rampage in Southern California, killing Courtney Aoki, Mel Edwards, and Jeremy Lewis, then committed suicide. The Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman, Jim Amormino, said Syed, described as an unemployed part-time student at Saddleback College who lived with his parents and a loner who “spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games,” left “no evidence, no note, nothing that would explain this very bizarre, violent behavior.”

Feb. 21Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, killed three people on the Las Vegas Strip and fled, is called armed and dangerous. He apparently got into an argument with, Ken Cherry, shot Cherry as Cherry was driving, which led to a collision that killed a taxi driver and his passenger. Harris has a long criminal record that includes kidnapping, sexual assault, and robbery.

Additionally, although the murder took place on July 31, 2012, only at his court hearing on Feb. 21 did public attention focus on Ali Salim, 44, a medical doctor born in Pakistan and living in New Albany, Ohio, who is accused of raping and killing nine months’ pregnant Deanna Ballman, 23, by injecting her with a lethal dose of heroin. He is charged with two counts of murder (Ballman and her unborn baby) as well as rape, felonious assault, corrupting another with drugs, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Comments: Because the media, law enforcement, and elected officials are so reluctant to give out information about the attackers’ religion, much less their motives, it’s basically impossible to tell from the outside if they represent a wave of jihadi attacks by Islamists or are just a bunch of criminals who happen to be Muslim, or a bit of both. (For documentation of this pattern, see both my article “Denying [Islamist] Terrorism” and the follow-up blog, “More Incidents of Denying Islamist Terrorism.”) The most the media will concede is in the Ibrahim case, that “Privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ [Christian] religion.” When will journalists, police, and politicians end their efforts to hide key information that the public needs and deserves?

Update: This blog prompted readers to send other recent cases of Muslim-on-non-Muslim violence:

Sep. 8, 2011: As Justin Hall, 32, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, was about to board a Greyhound bus in Springfield, Mo., Mohamed H. Dawod, 25, of Glendale, Ariz., shot him in the back. Police were seeking a motive. They charged Dawod with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting. Dawod tried to fire more shots but his pistol, a .22-cal. semi-automatic, jammed, at which point other passengers subdued him. The attack appeared to be unprovoked.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and The National Review Online, The Corner, February 24, 2013 and updated on February 25, 2013.

About the Author: Daniel Pipes is a world-renowned Middle East and Islam expert. He is President of the Middle East Forum. His articles appear in many newspapers. He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He is a board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other institutions. His website is DanielPipes.org.


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One Response to “Muslim Killings in the US: Jihad or Criminality?”

  1. Ummer Farooq says:

    Oh look, quran 5:82 rings true again.

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