Match Made in Hell: SoCal Terrorists Likely Forged Bond in Online Jihadist ForumsPosted: December 9, 2015
Hollie McKay reports: The online romance between Southern California terrorists Farook Rizwan Syed and Tashfeen Malik was more a meeting of like minds than lonely hearts, with two radical jihadists forming a bond of hate and bloodlust in the dark recesses of the Internet.
Family members have said Syed, 28, and Malik, 29, met online and embarked on a whirlwind digital relationship capped by their 2014 marriage. But if they did, it was not on any dating site resembling those that bring people together every day in the civilized world. Their meeting brought together two already-radicalized soulmates who would go on to kill 14 people and wound 21 more in last week’s massacre at a San Bernardino social services facility
“They were actually radicalized before they started [dating online],” FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Wednesday. “As early as the end of 2013 they were talking about jihad and martyrdom, before they became engaged.”
“As early as the end of 2013 they were talking about jihad and martyrdom, before they became engaged.”
– FBI Director James Comey
Farook seemingly set up several profiles years ago in his search for a wife – reportedly using sites like Dubaimatrimonial.com, BestMuslim.com and iMilap.com, which is an Indian-centered matrimonial and dating site “for people with disabilities and remarriage.
A spokesperson for iMilap.com confirmed to FoxNews.com that while Farook has an inactive profile not in public view, Malik never belonged to the site and they have no history of any such name or details. In his profiles, Farook described himself as a “devout” Muslim and added that he spends “much free time in the [mosque] memorizing the Quran and learning more about the religion.”
As for Malik, she was an online ghost, and experts said absent her participation in hardcore jihadist chat forums or use of a pseudonym, it is unlikely that she met Farook innocently.
With authorities trying to uncover the origins of their relationship and trying to trace a digital trail the pair tried to destroy, the FBI has revealed that Farook was at least “in contact” with international terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda. Law enforcement authorities told Fox News this week there is a high certainty Malik was “an operative” of some description.
Malik was born in Pakistan, while Farook was an American citizen of Pakistani descent. Several Pakistani community leaders in Southern California called it “highly unusual and rare” in their culture for a wife to be older than her husband, even if by only a year. Malik, they added, did not fit the typical portrait of a young woman simply seeking a partner. Yet family members and co-workers say Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia in July of 2014 and “returned with a wife” that no U.S. relatives claim to have previously known. Authorities told Fox News it is extremely unusual for a Pakistani woman, especially from a conservative Islamic home, to travel overseas on a fiance visa – unless it was part of a plan…(read more)