Exclusive: San Bernardino Terrorist Was Quiet, Invisible Student

San Bernardino students at vigil (Facebook)
San Bernardino students at vigil (Facebook)

Syed Farook, the radical Muslim terrorist who carried out last week’s attack in San Bernardino with his wife Tashfeen Malik, graduated from California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in health science, and a concentration in environmental health.

Four out of the 14 people he and his wife murdered were also CSUSB graduates.

But the man who carried out this heinous crime flew under the radar on campus. He kept to himself, and was so quiet that his own professors hardly recalled having met the man who would be described by his local mosque leader as a “quiet and peaceful” man.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Wednesday, Dr. Dany Doueiri, the coordinator of CSUSB’s Arabic Language Program, told Breitbart News that Farook was a student in his class for one quarter during the 2007 school year but that Farook hardly left an impression on him.

Doueiri, noting the size of his classroom is 230 students during any given semester, said, “Unfortunately I don’t get to know my students unless they are majoring in Arabic.” He did not recall meeting with Farook one-on-one during his office hours. He did point to the possibility that he might have seen Farook at Muslim community events during a prayer, but did not recall having ever exchanged words with him or shaking his hand.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Dr. Mustafa Kuko, Director of the Islamic Center of Riverside, said it was “kind of hard for me to rectify, someone who’s so quiet and peaceful and someone who has the audacity to commit such horrendous crime.”

Breitbart News asked Dr. Doueiri if Farook was a member of CSUSB’s Muslim Student Association. He said he was not certain but did not deny that possibility pointing out that the presidents of the MSA at the time Farook attended the school are either out of state or out of the country today. He noted that the school does not keep records of the students who attended the club, adding: “But maybe they should.”

CSUSB also does not produce yearbooks–a decision the school’s library archivist told Breitbart News it is beginning to reconsider Farook’s name was not listed in the graduation programs for June or December of 2010.

Questions have arisen as to the possibility that Farook may have been radicalized during his time at university. FBI Director James Comey recently said both Farook and Tashfeen Malik “were actually radicalized before they started … dating each other online, and as early as the end of 2013 they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged.” The couple was officially married in August 2013.

A family friend of Malik in Pakistan had previously told ABC News that the couple met through family members as early as 2009, while he was attending CSUSB. However, a family attorney reportedly said the couple met each other online and only met face-to-face in 2013.

When asked if it was possible Farook became radicalized while attending CSUSB, Dr. Doueiri said: “I have no idea. But remember, you’re calling him radicalized. The question is, do you think he became sick? When you become sick, then something else kicks in.”

During a prayer vigil at the school this past Monday, Dr. Doueiri questioned whether he and the community had failed to educate their students enough to have prevented the tragedy that befell them last week.

Dr. Doueiri did not discount the possibility that Farook was linked to a broader conspiracy at home, perhaps connected to radical terrorist organizations abroad.

“You do not have to become radicalized through somebody coming and recruiting you,” he said. “You may be watching news on your own or watching certain things that by itself so drastically impact you day, after day, after day that you say ‘you know what? The hell with it. I want to kill myself and I want to kill everyone around the room.'”

Farook, who was born in the United States, traveled to Saudi Arabia to make the Hajj pilgrimage last year. Malik was born in Pakistan but grew up in Saudi Arabia.

Breitbart News also attempted to speak with Dr. Lal Mian, a professor of Health Science and Human Ecology, who is believed to have also had Farook as a student. In his office, a visibly heavy-hearted Professor Mian told Breitbart News that he did not wish to speak with the media and would not comment on the type of person Farook was. He expressed that he had lost two students of his own, although he would not verify whether those students were the victims of last week’s terrorist attack.

He said it made him cry every time he thought about it.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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