His father is shocked! shocked! that his boy could have done such a thing, but a neighbor gives a clue: “He and his brother were very devout; they dressed like Afghans and all that, but I can’t believe this.” Then there is the local mosque where he was a “regular.” Has anyone looked into what is taught there, or would that be “Islamophobic”?
“Terrorist’s father speaks for the first time,” by James Badcock and David Barrett, Telegraph, August 23, 2015:
The father of the gunman who attempted to commit a massacre aboard a high-speed international train service has spoken for the first time of his shock.
Mohamed El-Khazzani, speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, said his son was a “good boy” and expressed incredulity at his actions.
“I have no idea what he was thinking and I have not spoken to him for over a year,” said Mr El-Khazzani.
“He was a good boy, very hardworking.”
Between sobs, the gunman’s father said his son “never talked politics; just football and fishing”.
Since returning to be with his parents in 2012 after a troubled spell in Madrid, his son had given up smoking hashish and seemed very calm, said the father of five, who recycles materials for a living in one of Algeciras’s poorest areas, El Saladillo.
Mr El-Khazzani, born in Tétouan, northern Morocco, in 1950, managed to legalise his status in Spain a decade ago and brought his entire family over in 2007, first settling in Madrid before moving to Algeciras.
Ayoub was arrested twice in the Spanish capital for selling hashish in 2009.
“But he was only carrying a little bit; he was just a boy then,” his father said.
Mr El-Khazzani blamed a French telecommunications company for his son’s apparent transformation.
He said that six Moroccan youths from Algeciras were taken to work in France around 18 months ago on six-month contracts.
“Then after one month they were just kicked out. So now he’s in France, not Spain. What is he meant to do? What is he supposed to eat?
“But no, they’re criminals in that company, using people like that.”
After losing his job with the telephony company, his father thinks that Ayoub was in France and Belgium.
Mr El-Khazzani seemed surprised when asked if he believed his son’s version of events, in which he said he was armed with an assault rifle to rob people on the train.
“Rob on the train?” he repeated. “It’s all very strange,” was all he can say before breaking down again.
Other residents of El Saladillo who remember Ayoub from his time in the Algeciras neighbourhood were similarly shocked by the development. The last they had all heard of him was that he had a job with Lycamobile in France. “He and his brother were very devout; they dressed like Afghans and all that, but I can’t believe this,” said one young man of Moroccan origin. “He would sit with us while we smoked joints, you know? He didn’t smoke, but he didn’t mind that we did.”
But a Spanish neighbour said he was “arrogant”.
“I only knew him from playing five-a-side here in the neighbourhood. I didn’t talk about anything else with him but he was uptight, standoffish. He loved his football, though.”
Anouar, a volunteer from the modest local mosque where Ayoub and his brother were regulars said he was struggling to take in the news. “I am having trouble coming to terms with the news. It was not obviously apparent that he had such ideas. If it’s what it looks like, I feel ashamed. He has shamed the neighbourhood. I have lived here for 25 years; we had had our children here”.