Friday, February 16, 2007


You may already know that many wingnuts are freaking out after learning that the Utah mall shooter, Sulejman Talovic, was a Bosnian Muslim -- this despite the fact that the FBI has ruled out terrorism as a motive and the fact that, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City,

There is no record that Talovic attended any of the mosques in the Salt Lake area, according to both Tarek Nosseir, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake and Bobby Darvish, president of the Muslim Forum of Utah. Nosseir noted that many Bosnian Muslims are more secular than religious.

"Having lived under Soviet Union rules for decades, where religious freedom was not an option, a majority of these people" are not practicing Muslims, he added. "What I hear is that he came a couple of times at most, to Eid prayers, but I can't confirm that he came."

Well, now there's a freakout at Free Republic over a videotape taken in the mall during the shootings and broadcast on a Salt Lake City TV station -- according to the Freepers, if you listen to the audio (specifically, the part that plays just as the duration counter passes the "hoo" in "Shooting" in the caption on the TV station's Web site), you hear the shooter shouting, "O.B.! O.B.! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!"
Here's the video. Try it yourself.

What these people are ranting about absolutely does not sound like "Allah akbar" or "Allahu akbar" -- it's not even four syllables, much less five. If it's the shooter speaking Bosnian, I'd say it sounds like "Kamandlakh" (whatever the hell that would mean); if it's someone from law enforcement (as one of the saner Freepers suggests), he might be saying, "Come on up!"

Yet I fear this theory will never die on the right.

Even Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has rejected the "Allah Akbar!" interpretation of what's said on the video. However, he's not ruling out jihad as a motive. (Needless to say, he was one of the first to suggest that the shooter might have been motivated by what righties call "sudden jihad syndrome.")

What's maddening is that Talovic's story makes perfect sense based just on what we know. He was a child of war who fled his homeland at age ten. Since then, he's had a history of (non-ideological) violence. Is that sequence of events in any way surprising?

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