On Sunday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted that the FBI is investigating the mother of Syed Farook, the man who joined his wife Tashfeen Malik to massacre 14 people in San Bernardino and wound 21 others.
Lynch allowed that a possibility exists that Farook’s mother, Rafia Farook, knew her son and his wife were engaged in criminal activities, according to NBC News. Lynch told Meet the Press, “Obviously, it’s something that we’re looking at very, very closely.” She added, “We’re not sure which one [fanatical ideology] they picked in this case, despite the media accounts.”
A worker in the area of Farook’s mother’s home reported he had noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area, but did not report the activity, fearing he would be accused of racial profiling, according to CBS Los Angeles.
On Saturday, the Daily Caller reported that Rafia Farook is an active member of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which promotes the establishment of a caliphate and is connected to a radical Pakistani political group called Jamaat-e-Islami. An MSNBC reporter discovered a certificate of appreciation that ICNA’s sisters’ wing gave to Rafia Farook last summer.
Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki spoke at an ICNA event in 2002, before he joined al-Qaeda. Noelle Valentzas, an ICNA member who spoke at two ICNA events, joined another woman to plan an attack on New York City. Five American students who befriended each other at an ICNA mosque in Alexandria, Va. were arrested in Pakistan for planning an attack on American troops in Afghanistan.
ICNA is largely based on the teachings of Abul A’la Maududi, who founded Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh desiring an Islamic state. The Anti-Defamation League reports that ICNA’s “The Message” stated that “using the organizational development methodology of Maulana Mawdudi and the Jamaat Al-Islami of akistan, which lays special emphasis on spiritual development, ICNA has developed a strong foundation.” The ADL adds, Maududi “is a jihadi ideologue….He has written that ‘the nation of Jews will be exterminated’ in the end of days.”
The Bengali government banned Maududi’s books in 2010.
The Clarion Project reports that ICNA approved of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, whose writings influence al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
Lynch stated that investigators have conducted 300 interviews and several searches, but they “do not have evidence that they were part of either a larger group or cell, or that they were planning anything else.”
Law enforcement officials have revealed that Rafia Farook’s home was the site where her son and his wife stored at least 15 pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
The two .223-caliber rifles that Farook and Malik used in the attack, a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 and a DPMS model, were bought in 2011 and 2012 by a friend of Farook’s, but investigators have no idea how Farook obtained them. Law enforcement officials claim the friend is not a suspect; two law enforcement officials said the friend stated he checked himself into a mental health facility.
Law enforcement officials still insist they have no evidence that the terrorist couple was involved with any foreign terror groups or individuals.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News Sunday that federal investigators are delving into Malik’s history, asserting, “There’s a serious investigation ongoing into what she was doing in Pakistan and in Saudi, including if she attended the red mosque in Islamabad, which is a very radicalized mosque.”