The FBI has identified 24 year old Mohammad (Mohammod) Youssef Abdulazeez as the shooter who drove to two military installations in civilian areas and fired an automatic weapon from a rented vehicle, killing four U.S. Marines and injuring others on Thursday (July 16, 2015).
By Ray Hanania
A Kuwait Muslim from Jordan, Mohammod (Mohammad) Youssef (Youssuf) Abdulazeez, 24, has been identified as the suspect responsible for the cold-blooded murder of four U.S. Marines at a marine installation and injuring others at a Military recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Witnesses said that the suspect pulled up in w silver convertible Mustang and fired dozens of bullets into the front of a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he injured at least one person, before driving seven miles away to a U.S. Navy operational support center where he shot and killed four uniformed U.S. Marines.
The killings occurred as Muslims around the world were observing the official end of Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month of fasting and reverence which ends at sundown on Thursday.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is marked by daylong fasts by devout Muslims, and re-affirmation of their religious faith.
But the killings and the timing of the attack by the suspect who has been identified as an Arab Muslim at a time when the Islamic extremist group in the Middle East, Daesh (or ISIS, the Islamic State) has openly urged Muslims to engage in acts of violence against American targets, saying to kill and infidel will guarantee the killers extra righteousness in paradise.
But mainstream Muslims denounced the killing as a crime that does not reflect the fundamental precepts of Islam which is a religion of peace and based on the same religious principles and prophets as Judaism and Christianity. Muslims recognize Abraham, Jesus and even the Virgin Mary as prophets who are revered and respected in Islamic teaching.
Muslims, Arabs and people who “look” Middle Eastern have been living in constant fear of violent racist backlashes following criminal incidents committed by suspects identified as Muslim or Arab. Racists and political extremists in America have used violence by Muslims and Arabs as justification to impose more restrictions on Arabs and Muslims in the United States.
Abdulazeez, according to news reporters, rammed the gate of the Naval Training Center and where he was shot and killed by a uniformed police officer. Some suspected he had committed suicide, according to earlier media reports. Officials said Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. Citizen, was not considered a “terrorist threat.”
Ironically, as the nation focused on the massacre of the four U.S. Marines, a jury in Colorado convicted movie theater killer James Holmes, 27, of 165 charges relating from the killing of 12 people who were murdered during the 2012 premiere of the Batman movie, “The Dark Night Rises.” Holmes faces the death penalty, but he was never associated by the media or the public with any rightwing, White or religious factions.
Most White killers who engage in mass murder are written off as “lone gunmen,” as was Holmes, but Arabs and Muslims who engage in violence and killings are immediately viewed as terrorists engaged in a form of international terrorism. They are also cast by many as representatives of Islam, which has been denounced viciously by racist critics as a “religion of violence.”
Immediately after the killings in Tennessee, anti-Arab racist Pamela Geller issued a statement blaming the killings on ISIS, and on Islamic extremism. Geller who has built up her celebrity by bashing Muslims and fear mongering after Muslim or Arab-involved violence, has never denounced any violence by Whites or mainstream Americans, never criticized the gun industry, or noted that that largest wave of murders in America occurs in American cities such as in Chicago and New York where hundreds of African Americans are murdered, including in several recent incidents by White Police officers.
A poll now being conducted by The Arab Daily News (view poll in the right column of this and other online newspaper pages) suggests that many blame Islam, as is predicted.
President Barack Obama announced that all of the nation’s military defense facilities would be put on alert and there is a growing debate about placed armed soldiers at military recruiting stations and reserve centers like the two targeted by Abdulazeez.
FBI investigators were continuing to determine if there is a direct connection to Daesh, ISIS and international terrorism, or if the 24 year old naturalized citizen had other reasons to engage in his murderous violence.
Arabs and Muslims around the country expressed condolences for the families of the victims, and noted that many Arabs and Muslims have served in the military and can identify with the victims.
But the focus won’t be on mainstream Muslims or mainstream Arabs. The violence Thursday will fuel a rise in racist rhetoric and hate speech against Islam as a religion, and all Muslims and all Arabs.