San Bernardino shooting: Who is Tashfeen Malik? #SanBernadino

December 6, 2015 3:00 am

 

Tashfeen Malik. Photo / AP

A change came over Tashfeen Malik two or three years ago.
She
started dressing more conservatively, wearing a scarf that covered
nearly all her face, and became more devout in her Muslim faith,
according to some who knew her in Pakistan.
But her path from
there to the bloody events of this past week – when she and her husband
slaughtered 14 people in a commando-style shooting rampage – remains a
mystery.
FBI officials, family lawyers and others said they know
little about the 29-year-old housewife and mother, apart from what came
to light on Friday: that Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic
State group on Facebook as she and her American-born husband, Syed
Farook, 28, went on the rampage.
The turn in the investigation raised a host of questions, among them:

• If the couple was radicalized, when, where and how did it
happen? Were they influenced by Islamist material online or direct
contact with extremists?
• If it happened before Malik came to
the U.S., did counterterrorism authorities miss any warning signs when
they investigated her before approving her visa?
• Which of them was the driving force in the attack?
Natana
DeLong-Bas, an assistant professor of theology at Boston College, said
the case should cause people to rethink some of their assumptions about
extremism.
“We always seem to assume only a man would be capable
of making a terrorist attack,” DeLong-Bas said. “Because we know so
little about Tashfeen Malik, it’s possible she might have been the main
organizer in this event and talked her husband into doing it.”
Husband
and wife were killed in a furious shootout with police hours after they
armed themselves with assault rifles and opened fire on a gathering of
Farook’s colleagues from the San Bernardino County health department,
where he worked as a restaurant inspector. The FBI said it is
investigating the rampage as a terrorist attack.

Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook. Photos / AP
Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook. Photos / AP
President Barack Obama plans to deliver a prime-time
address to the nation Sunday night on the attack and the government’s
efforts to keep the nation safe.
Hundreds of FBI employees are
working the case, interviewing people, gleaning information off the
internet, conducting searches and analyzing evidence, bureau spokeswoman
Laura Eimiller said.
Early on Saturday, authorities with guns
drawn raided a home next door to the house where Farook’s family used to
live in Riverside, , breaking windows and using a cutting
torch to get into the garage, neighbors said.
The FBI would not
say what it was looking for, but a neighbor said an old friend of
Farook’s lives there. More than three years ago, that person bought the
two assault rifles later used in the shooting, but authorities haven’t
been able to talk to him because he checked himself into a mental
hospital after the attack, said a law enforcement official who was not
allowed to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of
anonymity.
The FBI has said the man is not a suspect in shootings, though they want to question him.

officials said that Farook been in contact with extremists via social
media, but one official said those contacts were not recent and did not
involve any significant players on the FBI’s radar.

The townhouse rented by San Bernardino shooting suspects Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, is boarded up. Photo / AP
The townhouse rented by San Bernardino shooting suspects Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, is boarded up. Photo / AP
FBI Director James Comey said Friday there was no
indication so far that the couple was part of a larger cell or was
directed by a foreign terror organization.
Farook was born in
Chicago to Pakistani parents and raised in Southern California. Malik
arrived in the US in 2014 on a Pakistani passport and a fiancee visa but
had spent extended periods of time in Saudi Arabia.
She started studying pharmacy at Bahauddin Zakariya University in the Pakistani city of Multan in 2012.

Pakistani women travel on a three-wheeler Tuk Tuk in Karor Lal Esam, the hometown of California's female shooter Tashfeen Malik, about 450 kilometres southwest of Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo / AP
Pakistani women travel on a three-wheeler
Tuk Tuk in Karor Lal Esam, the hometown of California’s female shooter
Tashfeen Malik, about 450 kilometres southwest of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Photo / AP
A maid who worked in the Multan home where Malik lived said
that Malik initially wore a scarf that covered her head but not her
face. A year before she got married, she began wearing a scarf that
covered all but her nose and eyes, the maid said. The maid spoke on
condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing her employment with the
family.
A relative of Malik’s in Pakistan, Hifza Batool, reported
hearing similar things from other family members about Malik, her
step-niece.

Hifza Batool, a relative of Tashfeen Malik, in Pakistan. Photo / AP
Hifza Batool, a relative of Tashfeen Malik, in Pakistan. Photo / AP
“I recently heard it from relatives that she has become a
religious person and she often tells people to live according to the
teachings of Islam,” said Batool, a teacher who lives in Karor Lal Esan,
about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southwest of the Pakistani capital of
Islamabad.
The Farook family attorneys, David Chesley and
Mohammad Abuershaid, said none of his relatives had any indication
either Farook or his wife held extremist views. The lawyers described
Malik as “just a housewife” and cautioned against rushing to judgment.

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