Leaders of mosques where California shooter prayed say rampage betrayed Islam


SAN BERNARDINO (Reuters) – California shooter Syed Rizwan Farook was a devout Muslim who made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2013 and prayed regularly at a mosque in Riverside, California and later at one in nearby San Bernardino, officials at the mosques said on Thursday.

And that has left them all the more puzzled about his killing spree on Wednesday.

“He is someone who used to listen to my sermons, my talks here,” said Mustafa Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside. “I sat up last night thinking about him and what’s happened.”

Kuko has trouble understanding how Farook could have betrayed the very principles of his religion. “We’re told in Islam if you take one human life, it’s as if you’ve taken all of mankind.”

Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, his wife and mother of his 6-month-old daughter, were killed in a shootout with police after the couple opened fire at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in the city of San Bernardino, killing 14 people.