“At first, Elagha said, he didn’t release the video clips but changed his mind after the recent stabbings in Minnesota and bombings in New Jersey and New York, and because of the backlash against American Muslims.”
This doesn’t make any sense. “The recent stabbings in Minnesota and bombings in New Jersey and New York” were jihad attacks, but AP doesn’t tell us that, and instead juxtaposes them with “the backlash against American Muslims.” The uninformed reader might get the impression that they were part of that alleged backlash, rather than attacks perpetrated by Islamic jihadis.
In any case, why those jihad attacks would have moved Elagha to release the video of Mateen in the mosque is completely unclear. Elagha says: “We’re not associated with this terrorist. We’re not associated with this murderer.” That, presumably, is why he covered up this video footage up to now: he didn’t want to give the impression that Mateen, who acted explicitly in the name of Islam and jihad, was authentically a Muslim. But releasing the footage would reinforce the impression that Mateen was an observant Muslim. So why did he do so?
What’s more, Elagha’s adding that he released it because of “the backlash against American Muslims” makes this whole episode even curiouser. This supposed “backlash,” which seldom, if ever, genuinely materializes, consists of racist redneck yahoos brutalizing innocent Muslims because of jihad attacks. We’re constantly told that all Muslims are being blamed for the crimes of a few — which also rarely, if ever, actually happens. Yet if Elagha wants to guard against that, why is he releasing video that only strengthens the association of Mateen with Islam and Muslims in general?
There is clearly more to this story than we are being told, or that the Associated Press has any curiosity about. AP doesn’t even care to tell us the name of the mosque in question.
Meanwhile, this revelation only reinforces what I have noted for years: that mosques are not putting jihadis out, or making it clear that they are unwelcome, or, for the most part, reporting them to authorities when they learn of what they’re doing. (There is no indication in this case that anyone at this mosque knew what Mateen was planning, but it bears investigation, rather than simply taking Elagha at his word.)
An imam has released video footage of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen praying in a central Florida mosque four days before the attack that killed 49 people and injured 53 others on June 12.
Imam Helmi Elagha told reporters Wednesday that he was unaware that Mateen had visited the mosque until FBI investigators contacted him a couple of days after the June 12 shooting at Pulse nightclub.
The imam showed reporters a grainy, freeze-frame image of a man he identified as Mateen walking into the mosque about 10:30 p.m. on June 8. He said Mateen “kept his head down” and went to a corner, where he prayed for about 10 minutes. He says he doesn’t believe anyone exchanged words with him.
“I’m just thinking, ‘How are you praying? … You were contemplating killing people in a couple of days,'” Elagha, executive director of the American Muslim Leadership Council, said at a news conference.
Mateen stopped at the mosque, which is located in a tourist strip not far from Walt Disney World, during Ramadan, which is Islam’s holy month. His wife and child were with him, but they entered the building from a different entrance, Elagha said.
He doesn’t seem to have mentioned that his wife was required to enter from a different entrance. But she was.
It’s common for tourists to stop in at the mosque, Elagha said, adding that the FBI told him it was the only time Mateen visited.
How does the FBI know that? It’s an interesting question. Officially, they’re not conducting surveillance in mosques. Officially, Islam is a religion of peace, and they have no reason to conduct surveillance in mosques. Are they now inadvertently admitting that this is not always the way things work out in practice? Or did they have Mateen himself under surveillance — surveillance so inefficient as to allow him to murder 49 people in the name of Islam and jihad?
At first, Elagha said, he didn’t release the video clips but changed his mind after the recent stabbings in Minnesota and bombings in New Jersey and New York, and because of the backlash against American Muslims.
“We’re not associated with this terrorist,” he said of Mateen. “We’re not associated with this murderer.”…