Prof Claiming No Terror Link to Bernardino 'Workplace Violent Act' Gets Debunked in Seconds

December 4th, 2015 11:46 AM

It was a priceless TV moment. Here was law professor Sahar Aziz on Jose Diaz-Balart's MSNBC show complaining about anti-Muslim bias in the US and insisting we don't know the motive behind the San Bernardino massacre. Aziz called the San Bernardino attack a "workplace violent act," pointing to the lack of any claim of responsibility or link to a terrorist group.

But literally seconds after Aziz signed off—without so much as a commercial break—NBC's Pete Williams came on to announce that just before the attack, the wife in the terrorist couple, Tashfeen Malik, "posted a statement of support for the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on a Facebook page." Williams added that such expressions of support for ISIS and for ISIS leaders, "does seem to follow a pattern that has been used in other ISIS-inspired attacks." It's okay, Professor Aziz: retroactive correction accepted!

Williams did clarify that it's not clear whether this was an ISIS-directed or an ISIS-inspired attack. In contrast with al Qaeda, ISIS carries out fewer centerally-planned attacks, relying instead on lone wolves--or couples--to be inspired to take terrorist action.  Indeed, the name of the ISIS's DIY magazine is . . . Inspire.

Watch Professor Aziz fall prey to some very unfortunate timing.

SAHAR AZIZI: It's unfortunate that every time a criminal act is conducted by a Muslim, the entire Muslim community, which is over five million in the United States, or multiple communities, feel that they have to condemn it and they have to issue press releases to let their compatriots know that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism or it is not responsible for an individual's criminal act. And I think that shows that we have a very serious problem of anti-Muslim bias and stereotyping . . . 

We really don't know what their motives are. I think we can tell that there may be some premeditation to a violent act, whether it was this particular workplace violent act or whether it was something larger, but mass shootings are usually premeditated. If you see the acts of Robert Dear against Planned Parenthood, Adam Lanza in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings, you also have many other mass shootings where there is premeditation. We still just don't know if this was politically motivated, and no terrorist group has thus far claimed responsibility, which is usually a staple aspect of a terrorist act because terrorists want to take responsibility for these acts. 

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Yeah. Professor Sahar Aziz, thank you so much for being with me this morning. I appreciate it. 

AZIZ: Thank you. 

DIAZ-BALART: And we have breaking news right now on a possible connection between the San Bernardino shooters and ISIS. I want to get to NBC's Pete Williams. Pete, good morning. 

PETE WILLIAMS: Good morning, Jose. One of the questions all along here has been if Syed Farook was, in fact, radicalized, what was the radicalizing influence? And one of the possibilities has been changes in his life, and one of the big changes was his marriage to Tashfeen Malik, who came from Pakistan, whom he met in Saudi Arabia. And as authorities look further and further into their background, they say they've discovered what could be a very important piece of information. They say several law enforcement officials tell us that on the day of the shooting, just before the attacks, she posted a statement of support for the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad on a Facebook page. It's oftentimes a terrorist move to make an expression of support for ISIS and for ISIS leaders, so it does seem to follow a pattern that has been used in other ISIS-inspired attacks.