San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik: Who was she?

Posted at 3:54 PM, Dec 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 17:54:49-05
Tashfeen Malik, 27, was married to Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, her accomplice in the shooting Wednesday that left 14 people dead and 21 injured and culminated in their deaths in a police shootout.

Tashfeen Malik, 27, was married to Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, her accomplice in the shooting Wednesday that left 14 people dead and 21 injured and culminated in their deaths in a police shootout.

By Pat St. Claire, Greg Botelho and Ralph Ellis


(CNN) — On the day of the massacre of 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, Tashfeen Malik pledged her allegiance to the leader of ISIS in a Facebook post, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the shootings.

The terror group claims Malik, 29, and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, were “supporters” of ISIS. A law enforcement official said it appeared last week’s San Bernardino attack may have been inspired by ISIS, but none of the three officials said the group directed or ordered the attack.

The post, declaring her loyalty to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was made on an account with a different name, although officials did not explain how they knew Malik made the post.

Malik and Farook carried out Wednesday’s shooting at the Inland Regional Center that also injured 21 people, authorities said. They died later in a police shootout on a San Bernardino street.

“This is looking more and more like self-radicalization,” a law enforcement official said.

Mohammad Jamil, a neighbor of Malik’s family in her native Pakistan, said, “We felt very sad about what Tashfeen had done.” He called her actions “shameful for us all.”

‘A stay-at-home mom’

Malik was born and raised in Pakistan. She lived in Saudi Arabia before traveling to the United States on what’s known as a “fiancee visa.” Later she became a lawful permanent resident.

Mustafa Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside, said he counseled Farook as he was looking for a religious woman to marry. Farook, an American citizen who worked for the San Bernardino County health department, was a regular at the center.

Malik moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when she was between 18 or 20, an attorney for Farook’s family said. Mohammad Abuershaid told CNN the couple met via an online dating website. They first met in person when Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2013 during the Hajj pilgrimage, the attorney said.

“She was very conservative. She was a stay-at-home mom,” Abuershaid said.

CNN has obtained a photocopy of Malik’s Pakistani national identification card from a senior Pakistani intelligence source.

The card is issued to Pakistani citizens as proof of their citizenship and legal residence in the country.

This version suggests the card was issued before 2013, indicating Malik had been living in Pakistan during that time. The card shows her date of birth as July 13, 1986.

Couple had 6-month-old baby

Farook married Malik in a religious marital ceremony during a second trip to Saudi Arabia and then returned to the United States with his new wife. Kuko officiated the couple’s U.S. marital ceremony at his mosque in 2014.

The couple had a 6-month-old daughter, whom they left with a grandmother the day of the shooting.

Malik and Farook lived in a rented two-bedroom, two-story townhouse with their baby and Farook’s mother, according to their landlord, Doyle Miller, the owner of the townhouse in Redlands, California, near San Bernardino.

He said the couple answered an ad on Craigslist.

No hints of extremism, family attorney says

“There was nothing to show that she was extreme at all,” Abuershaid told CNN. “She was a practicing Muslim, she believed in the religion and she was just doing the five prayers a day, the fasting …,” he said.

There was nothing to show she was responsible for radicalizing her husband, he added.

Back in Malik’s former neighborhood in Karor Lal Esan, Pakistan, Jamil said, “We don’t want Muslims to do such things.”

He added, “What Tashfeen did is not good for our country. There should be military courts for such people in Pakistan so that nobody dares to do such a bad thing in the future.”

Malik’s uncle still lives in the Pakistani town, according to Jamil. “He is a nice religious singer known as Naat Khawan,” he said. “He is well-known by all people in the area.”

CNN’s Sophia Saifi, Adeel Raja, Kevin Wang and Mariano Castillo contributed to the report.

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