Cleric at San Bernardino mosque investigated after evidence disputes earlier claims

A cleric speaking on behalf of the San Bernardino mosque that terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook attended finds himself under heavy scrutiny after his take on events leading up to the deadly attack earlier this month was found to be wanting.

Cleric Roshan Zamir Abbassi told the FBI he didn’t know Farook very well, but phone records and other evidence uncovered by agents suggest otherwise, according to the New York Post.

That evidence includes at least 38 text messages over a two-week span in June between Abbassi and Farook.

san-bernardino-cleric
Photo Credit New York Post

And while their exchanges coincided with the Muslim terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the cleric said the communication was about food donations for his Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamiya of America mosque.

Abbassi told reporters at a press conference that he didn’t know Farook any better than he knew them, but again that claim falls under question.

Members of the mosque say Farook was a regular and had been showing up three times a week to pray and study for two years. They also say he memorized the Koran at the facility, which requires learning Arabic — Abbassi teaches Arabic.

The cleric was in no mood to entertain the idea that his mosque played a role in Farook being radicalized.

The Post reported:

Asked if Farook was radicalized at the mosque, Abbassi snapped, “Never.” He said the mosque teaches only peace, insisting no one has even an “extremist idea.”

“In Islam,” he said, “we are against innocent killing.”

 

Abbassi also claimed that he never met Farook’s jihadi bride, Tashfeen Malik.

“No one knows anything about his wife,” assistant imam Mahmood Nadvi said in support of that claim. “She never came to prayer.

But others who worshiped at the mosque counter that claim.

The Post reported that a longtime mosque member who claimed to have prayed “shoulder to shoulder” with Farook said the Dar-al-Uloom mosque prepared a chicken-and-rice dinner to celebrate the couple’s wedding last year — a celebration that mosque leadership reportedly attended.

The story of a British Muslim family being barred from a flight to Disneyland also has a connection to the San Bernardino mosque — the brother of one of the family members on the trip attends the mosque.

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Tom Tillison

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