Though the assailant was known to be extreme on social media and praised Allah prior to murdering innocent Americans, police have labeled this a hate crime, not terrorism.
After telling his family that there’s currently a war going on in the United States between white people and black people, 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammed shot three white men dead in the street in Fresno, California; one after the other. According to reports, Muhammed was very outspoken on Facebook about his hatred for white people, referring to them as “white devils.” He praised melanoma skin cancer in addition to honoring black pride and nationalism. Muhammed is also a convicted felon who has previously served 92 months in federal prison on drug trafficking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charges.
Two of his victims were leaving Catholic Charities, an organization which distributes food and other items to the needy. He is also suspected in the killing of a security guard on Thursday night.
Law enforcement officials who apprehended Muhammed reported that he said the Arabic phrase, “Allahu akbar,” before killing the two men leaving Catholic Charities, which means “God is great” and is often used in conjunction with terrorist attacks.
— Fox26 News (@KMPHFOX26) April 18, 2017
The perpetrator of the shooting that occurred in Fort Hood, Texas in 2009 said the same thing before he opened fire on his fellow soldiers. It’s also known among the military community as being uttered before some coward carries out a suicide attack, frequently using explosive devices. The phrase itself has become synonymous with terrorism and those with experience would be on high alert if they ever encountered a person saying, “Allahu akbar.”
Authorities have said that in this case, terrorism isn’t suspected so they’re investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
In a poor attempt at defending Muhammed, his grandmother claimed that she didn’t “remember” him having a racial bias against anyone. She said that he often spoke in a derogatory manner about people, but they were of every race—not quite what I would call reassuring. Clearly, grandma isn’t on Facebook or she might have noticed the photo Muhammed posted of himself with the caption, “Let black people go or the doom increases, reparations and separation now.” He even followed up on Monday with the post, “My kill rate increases tremendously on the other side Ase Allah U Akbar.” If that doesn’t scream terrorist, I don’t know what does. I wouldn’t expect family members, especially a grandparent, to comprehend the horror behind the actions Muhammed took.
In light of his Facebook activity, Muhammed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He’s nothing short of a monster who took to the streets in broad daylight and gunned down innocent citizens because he did not like their skin color. I hope that this story appears on every media outlet, social media platform, and featured story possible.
Facebook also needs better policies on what they will allow as acceptable standards in their community. There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and obvious clues for the potential of violence. With social media serving as such a critical platform for social justice efforts and the radicalization of individuals worldwide, these organizations can no longer sit idly by in the name of the First Amendment.