The North Carolina Muslim who drove an SUV into a group of people at the University of North Carolina has written a letter to a local TV station saying Allah approves of such attacks.
“Allah gives permission in the Quran for the followers of Allah to attack those who have raged war against them, with the expectation of eternal paradise in case of martyrdom and/or living one’s life in obedience of all of Allah’s commandments found throughout the Quran’s 114 chapters,” wrote Mohammed Taheri-azar in a two-page letter sent to a television reporter and anchor at WTVD-TV, an ABC affiliate in Durham.
“The U.S. government is responsible for the deaths of and the torture of countless followers of Allah, my brothers and sisters. My attack on Americans at UNC-CH on March 3rd was in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated by the U.S. government on my fellow followers of Allah in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic territories. I did not act out of hatred for Americans, but out of love for Allah instead.”
Taheri-azar, 22, was charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault after driving a rented Jeep Cherokee through a crowd of people in the Pit area on the Campus Hill campus March 3. Six of the victims were hospitalized.
After the attack, the UNC graduate called 911 and surrendered to police saying he wanted to “punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world.” He said he had intended to kill the people he struck.
An Iranian native, Taheri-azar says he looks forward to defending himself in court to educate the public about “the will of Allah.” He is being held in a maximum-security prison.
According to an AP report, Taheri-azar wrote in the letter that he started reading the Quran in June 2003 and has read it 15 times since.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Associated Press Taheri-azar’s claims of religious support for his actions are an old and repudiated claim.
“Islamic scholars have clearly and repeatedly stated that attacks on innocent civilians of any kind are prohibited by Islam and should be repudiated,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said yesterday.
“There are people who have strange views about any number of faiths and they shouldn’t be taken as representative of those faiths. The people who kill abortion doctors claim they are doing it in the name of Christianity and we all know it is a distortion of Christian beliefs.”
After the incident, officials were reticent to call the attack terrorism.
“The only thing that makes this not look like a terrorist act is that he did a lousy job of it,” Solomon Bradman, chief executive officer of the Miami-based Security Solutions International, told The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C.
UNC Chancellor James Moeser commented after the attack: “He was a good student. He also was very much a loner.”
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