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Sad Surprise While Shopping
Sometimes you see a picture of a person that strikes you. I went on yesterday, and was surprised to see this photo on their front page:


From the photo, Vanessa Quinn just looks like a cool person. She's got a very friendly face, and looks to me like the kind of girl who'd be good to her friends, and fun to hang around with. I'm just imagining that, of course. But, because I was struck by her photo, I clicked to see what happened to her. Tragically, she was shot in the mall in Utah. Here's her memorial site somebody built.

And here's Debbie Schlussel on what law enforcement hasn't done, like seize or search the murderer's computer, and on how mainstream media are largely ignoring the guy's Muslim background. The question remains, was this an act of individual jihad? Robert Spencer, on Front Page, compares a number of similar one-man rampages, like:

• On January 31, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, 22, stole a car in Minneapolis. He went on a rampage, ramming the stolen car into other cars and then stealing a van and continuing to ram other cars, injuring one person. His father told officials that Mohamed was suffering from mental problems; his mother added he had been depressed and hadn’t been taking his medication. During his rampage, Mohamed repeatedly yelled, “Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill,” and when asked why he did all this, he replied, “Allah made me do it.”

• In March 2006, a twenty-two-year-old Iranian student named Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV onto the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, deliberately trying to kill people and succeeding in injuring nine. After the incident, he seemed singularly pleased with himself, smiling and waving to crowds after a court appearance on Monday, at which he explained that he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.” Officials here again dismissed the possibility of terrorism, even after Taheri-azar wrote a series of letters to the UNC campus newspaper detailing the Qur’anic justification for warfare against unbelievers, and explaining why he believed his attacks were justified from an Islamic perspective.

Spencer continues:

None of these were terrorist attacks in the sense that they were planned and executed by al-Qaeda agents. And it is possible that all of them were products of nothing more ideologically significant than a disturbed mental state, although it is at least noteworthy that each attacker explained his actions in terms of Islamic terrorism. As such attacks grow in number, it would behoove authorities at very least to consider the possibility that these attacks were inspired by the jihadist ideology of Islamic supremacism, and to step up pressure on American Muslim advocacy groups to renounce that ideology definitively and begin extensive programs to teach against it in American Islamic schools and mosques.

In October 2006, a pro-jihad internet site published a “Guide for Individual Jihad,” explaining to jihadists “how to fight alone.” It recommended, among other things, assassination with guns and running people over. Is it possible that Sulejmen Talovic and some of these others were waging this jihad of one? It is indeed, but with law enforcement officials trained only to look for signs of membership in al-Qaeda or other jihad groups, and to discount terrorism as a factor if those signs aren’t there, it is a possibility that investigators will continue to overlook.

Posted by aalkon at February 17, 2007 1:55 PM


If only this guy had touched a girl inappropriately. Then he'd be investigated, and every detail of his life put in the papers.

But, as we can see in the law, the mall, the papers - sex is more important than murder.

Posted by: Radwaste at February 17, 2007 7:14 AM

I'm more than a little disturbed by what happened, and the media seem a little too interested in leaving his muslim background out of the story. Is there any doubt that they'd be making hay of his religion if he were a Christian or Jew?

But from what I've read at LGF, this kid's been trouble since he was little (throwing rocks at girls, other various forms of delinquency).

So, while it might be comforting to attribute this attack to Sudden Jihad Syndrome, it's more likely that it's the act of a garden variety nut who wanted to die, and figured he'd take a bunch of people along for the ride.

Suicide by Cop, in other words.

Posted by: brian at February 17, 2007 7:42 AM

Is there any doubt that they'd be making hay of his religion if he were a Christian or Jew?

As Wafa Sultan pointed out a few days ago, you don't see Jews going around blowing up German restaurants.

Whether his attack was jihad needs to be explored. We can't pussyfoot around about this stuff.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 17, 2007 8:08 AM

Oh, absolutely it needs to be explored. I'm just pointing out that in this rare circumstance the media's willful blindness to jihad may actually have panned out to be correct.

But I also intended to show that our media exhibits some kind of psychological bias that prevents them from pointing out the religion of a criminal only when that criminal is a muslim. Maybe their bias is based upon the fact that Jews don't tend to decapitate their critics. They may seethe and whine, but they don't go that extra mile to get their point across.

Posted by: brian at February 17, 2007 8:59 AM

There were other 'sudden jihad' moments too. The LAX shooting at the El Al terminal in 2002:

The Seattle shooting at a Jewish center:

Posted by: Joe at February 17, 2007 9:42 AM

But I also intended to show that our media exhibits some kind of psychological bias that prevents them from pointing out the religion of a criminal only when that criminal is a muslim. Maybe their bias is based upon the fact that Jews don't tend to decapitate their critics. They may seethe and whine, but they don't go that extra mile to get their point across.

Jews steal -- Abramoff is an example -- but there's no tenet in the Jewish religion that suggests Jews steal in the name of religion; quite the contrary.

The greatest values in Judaism are for saving a life and for teaching somebody so they can help themselves.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 17, 2007 9:58 AM

I wonder if Islam + underlying craziness (e.g., schizophrenia) makes for a particularly dangerous combination compared to Christianity + craziness and Judaism + craziness. Sounds like this might be the case with the situation of Ismail Yassin Mohamed described above.

Posted by: justin case at February 17, 2007 10:17 AM

Get your concealed carry permit now, and beat the rush. It that statement makes your pooper pucker, then you need to go here:

Posted by: Casca at February 17, 2007 10:22 AM

I live in SF, CA. Is there any chance I can even purchase a handgun, much less get a permit to carry? I don't think the second amendment lives here.

Casca, what are you suggesting by link to that other post (I would, of course, choose the first option, as would any reasonable person)? I do however, think the hypothetical verges into pretty fanciful territory.

Posted by: justin case at February 17, 2007 10:58 AM

JC, of course you would think that. That's why you can't get a gun.

Posted by: Casca at February 17, 2007 11:08 AM

These individual jihadists are performing the 'great work' on a personal level. It works in the USA, because of the much smaller and sporadic numbers of Muslims in the country. Unlike the more concentrated unassimilated populations in western Europe. Sleeper cells thrive in Europe. What we have in the USA is a plague of dangerous individual wannabees.

We will be witnessing more of these individual jihadists in the future. It will be impossible to stop, because how can an intelligence agency infiltrate a plot conducted by a single individual? Perhaps a family member or friend may tip off the authorities. So our future weighs in the possibility of some form of ethical nature in people we have never met before? Highly unlikely.

The best prevention of these individual terrorists will be an armed society. Various states where it is legal to carry concealed firearms. I know this will tick off the gun control crowd. Can’t please everyone. Nor will I try to please everyone. It goes against my nature.

Another perspective to think about: When does traditional Islam become a form of religious extremism? When they take up arms? Start elaborate plots to kill nonbelievers? Remember the Lackawanna cell in Buffalo, NY? The excuse/story from the young men from Lackawanna was they were only interested in going to Afghanistan to do some deep spiritual study of their faith and not take up arms against the USA. Then all of a sudden Bin Laden shows up for a lecture.

This is a typical method of recruitment among jihad groups. First off they begin by organizing a harmless Islamic study group. Then you have a tight knit group of serious religious students. No talk of violence. Down with the USA, yet. This peaceful study group develops into an active social life outside the scheduled meetings. The lone jihad recruiter does some field questions to certain members about the future of Islam and how will YOU contribute to its survival. You can guess the rest of the development.

The task ahead is going to be a very difficult one. Will a FBI agent infiltrate a harmless study group over the one that will commit a terrorist act? Or a police agency rounds up members like the Lackawanna group. Claiming to be innocent and harmless. Could the Lackawanna group or any future 'persons of interest' be practicing Al-Takeyya?

Here are the profiles of the Buffalo Six:

Posted by: Joe at February 17, 2007 11:14 AM

Casca, you assume far too much about me.

And yeah, it looks like concealable firearms are banned in SF:

If I thought that, well, it's because it's true. Not much respect for old #2 in these parts. Which is a drag. I grew up shooting guns, and would like it to be more available where I now choose to live.

Posted by: justin case at February 17, 2007 11:32 AM

Isn't every cold-blooded murder a little one-on-one jihad, anyway? Or are we on our way to creating some new category of hate crime?

Greetings from New Haven. It's very cold and tweedy here.

Posted by: Lena at February 17, 2007 5:09 PM

Sounds to me like the typical "God made me do it" crazy excuse. Only the word for God in Arabic is "Allah."

I wouldn't assume that everyone who says "Allah" is particularly pious as a Muslim any more than any westerner who says "God" is necessarily Christian.

Posted by: LYT at February 17, 2007 5:39 PM

I agree with LYT. My mother worked as a nurse in a locked psychiatric ward over several decades, and from her stories I'd say many mentally disturbed people attribute their sociopathic actions to "God." I'd also assess that several recent newsworthy suicide pacts were performed under the "guise" of following a Christian) or Christian-affiliated) God.

Posted by: Charly in SJ at February 17, 2007 6:46 PM

Let's not get too comfortable with the moral equivalency.

There is a natural level of kook we have to put up with. What we get with the jihad recipe increases the kook level about 1000 times. We don't need that.

Muslims make up 1% of the US population. If they commit mall shootings at the same rate as the rest of the population, either the rest of us have some catching up to do, or there is some training going on.

Posted by: doombuggy at February 17, 2007 8:08 PM

"And here's Debbie Schlussel on what law enforcement hasn't done, like seize or search the murderer's computer"

The murderer didn't own a computer. Look it up.

Schussel is nuts. Nothing but speculation, as usual

Posted by: Florence Pelligrino at February 17, 2007 8:41 PM

A news account says you're correct. Does that mean he didn't have an e-mail account or access to the Internet? He may have. All avenues and possibilities should be investigated.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 17, 2007 11:11 PM

Well, it seems that speculation on my part isn't too far off base:

KSL Newsradio has learned that in November of 2004, officials at the Horizonte School contacted Sulejmen Talovic's parents to tell them he'd violated the school's Internet use policy, he was found looking up AK-47s on the Web.

Don't think it's hard for kids to access the Internet without a computer at home.

And Schlussel has done some pretty amazing undercover work in Detroit. I'll have to post photos of some of the articles from the Muslim hate rags my dad gave me last time I was there.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 17, 2007 11:21 PM

Kind of amazing that the SUVs were not the focus of the story (no, that was not about our recent discussion on another story).

Radical Islam has declared war on us and the press ignoring that fact is not helping things a bit. The media is not shy at all about bringing up fundamentalists from other groups affiliated with religion who took up arms in their "belief", like abortion clinic bombers (they were terrorists too), so it certainly is not a shyness about religion. Just some religion.

OT: When I was looking some things up about skeet and trap shooting I discovered a range in San Francisco that is supposed to be pretty famous. Would love to shoot there sometime (if it is still open) so I can say I fired my shotguns in SF :) One of them, a SAIGA-12, is based on an AK-47 action.

One group you can thank for the strict gun control laws in California is the Black Panthers and their stunt of walking into the chamber of the legeslature with their shotguns over head during the debate. I guess the other group you can thank for that is the legeslature.

Posted by: Guy Montag at February 19, 2007 3:55 PM

Just heard another incident on the radio. Islamic cab driver in Nashville running over his passengers after a religous 'discussion.' I guess that is worse than trying to get a cab while posessing wine.

Posted by: Guy Montag at February 19, 2007 4:39 PM

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