Tashfeen Malik was photographed entering the United States via Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on July 27, 2014. Both of the San Bernardino terrorists were flying to America from Saudi Arabia. Syed Farook was born in the United States.
The Tashfeen Malik image from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport was first published by ABC News early Monday morning. Syed Farook and Malik were reportedly pictured walking through customs at the airport. The timestamped photo indicates the first time the San Bernardino terrorist stepped foot on American soil.
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Tashfeen Malik, 29, was dressed in a black hijab and looked directly into the camera without any expression on her face while walking through the airport, the Daily Mail reports. Syed Farook, 28, is shown walking several paces behind his fiancée and is wearing skull cap and long loose shirt.
“There’s a serious investigation ongoing into what she was doing in Pakistan and in Saudi,” U.S. Representative Michael McCaul. the House Homeland Security Chair, said. “We think that she had a lot to do with the radicalization process and perhaps with Mr. Farook’s radicalization from within the United States. The wild card here is the wife Malik.”
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The San Bernardino gunman has a beard in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport photo, but was not yet sporting a mustache. Malik and Farook met on an international Islamic matrimonial website in 2013. Tashfeen was allowed to enter the United States after undergoing vetting by the federal government. She was issued a K-1 fiance visa and married Farook one month later in a Riverside, California, ceremony. The two reportedly conducted a religious marriage ceremony before leaving Saudi Arabia.
Farook family attorney says brothers in the family never saw Tashfeen Malik’s face because she always wore a burka. pic.twitter.com/5fOC7f8Q8E
— ABC News (@ABC) December 4, 2015
ABC News also released what is thought to be the first recorded message found from Farook. He is heard stating his name in a voicemail greeting. Government investigators were very slow to release a photo of Tashfeen Malik, and garnered backlash over the delay. The delay led some to speculate that the Middle Eastern attire would immediately increase terrorism concerns that an unwillingness to show the face of woman who wore a burka due to the perception of disrespect to the Muslim community played a role in the decision.
Estranged relatives of Malik’s told the media that Tashfeen appeared to have strayed from the moderate practice of Islam by the family. The relatives also added that they felt she had become radicalized while living in Saudi Arabia. The San Bernardino terrorist returned to the Bahuaddin Zakaria University in Multan, Pakistan, to study pharmacy in 2007 to 2012.
When attending the university Malik also reportedly enrolled in the al-Huda International Seminary, a religious school. The facility is for women only, and has branches across Pakistan and in the Canada and the United States, as well. Malik is believed to have attended classes at al-Huda six days a week as part of a 2-year course of study on the Quran. Tashfeen handed in her last paper in the course in May, 2014, according to a representative from the school. Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS shortly before embarking on the shooting spree at the Inland Regional Center.
Neighbors of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook told reporters that a distinct uptick in activity had been going on at the home of the San Bernardino terrorists prior to the shooting. According to comments by at least one witness, individuals who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent been seen “coming and going at all hours” and a lot of packages were reportedly delivered to the address. Some neighbors said that they feared being labeled a racist or Islamophobic if they reported the activity, and therefore did not pick up the phone and say something to police.
Do you think the vetting process of immigrants, refugees, and for visas is adequate and will protect the United States from another terror attack?
[Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP]