Noor Zahi Salman, the wife of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen, is cooperating with the FBI and reportedly has admitted that she knew of her husband’s plan to commit mass murder. She says she tried to talk him out of it, but didn’t report him to law enforcement.
It sounds as though Salman was more than a passive observer. Reportedly, she helped her husband to scout locations for a possible attack, including the Pulse night club, where she went by herself more than once. She also acknowledges being present when Mateen bought a holster and ammunition, so she knew about his purchase of firearms. If what is being reported is correct, she presumably will be charged as an accessory to her husband’s crimes.
Ms. Salman, an attractive young woman, is described as a member of “a well-to-do Palestinian family who emigrated to California from Ramallah, in the West Bank, in the 1970s.”
One troubling aspect of the many instances of Islamic terrorism and attempted terrorism we have seen in the U.S. is that family and friends of would-be terrorists often know of their plans, or at least their radical leanings, and nevertheless support them. It is hard to understand how a wife could know that her husband intends to carry out a massacre and do nothing to stop it, but that apparently is what happened here. Maybe it’s a cultural difference.
We have seen something similar in the Somali community in Minnesota, as Scott described in his reports on the recent criminal trial of three “Minnesota men.” As best one can tell, most members of that community supported and sympathized with the defendants even though the evidence made it abundantly clear that they wanted to serve ISIS. Those who point out, correctly, that terrorists represent only a small portion of the Muslim population generally fail to note that even though they may act alone or in a small group, they rely on the silence, or even the support, of a larger segment of the population.
The Muslims have to work with us. They know what’s going on. They know that [the Orlando shooter] was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death, and destruction.