Is Reza Taheri-azar A Takfiri?

By Beila Rabinowitz

March 27, 2006 - Philadelphia, PA - - At the end of his near murderous rampage on the University of North Carolina campus, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar - head shaved, impeccably dressed and polite - called 911 on his cell phone, calmly surrendering to police:

"Yes, sir. I just hit several people with a vehicle," Taheri-azar said on the recording. "Right now, I'm standing, you can come and arrest me..." - Source Link

He later told authorities that he had been planning his attack for two years, while studying for his degree at the University of North Carolina - possibly having shared classrooms with some of his victims.

After his arrest, Taheri-azar smiled and told journalists he had "intended to kill people" and was, "...disappointed there were not more people around when he attacked." He also made a chilling admission, stating that he had specifically chosen a Jeep Cherokee as a weapon because "it could keep going even after if ran over something."

Taheri-azar's long term preparation, overall demeanor and sense of achievement after the attack are indications that he might well be an adherent of a little understood "mutant strain" of Salafi Islam known as Al wal Takfiri Hijra - Takfiri - whose interpretation of Islam is so strict that it is said they even tried to kill Osama bin-Laden and have attacked the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for what they deemed "un-Islamic" practices.

The Takfiris permit themselves to violate the tenets of Islam in order to feign assimilation into the "infidel" culture, thus deflecting suspicion that they could be potential attackers and to facilitate their access to targets.

"And there is a growing sense that a number of them [al-Qaeda] are "Takfiris," followers of an extremist Islamic ideology called Takfir wal Hijra [Anathema and Exile]. That's bad news: by blending into host communities, Takfiris attempt to avoid suspicion. A French official says they come across as "regular, fun-loving guys - but they'd slit your throat or bomb your building in a second." - "Hate Club," Time Magazine, November 12, 2001

Taheri's mug shot shows him absent a beard and with his head shaved, standard practice among Taqfiris [Takfiri terrorists often shave their body hair before becoming "martyrs" as preparation for paradise. This religious ritual is observed by the would-be suicide bombers so that they are "clean" before entering heaven. Documents found in the suitcase of September 11 ringleader, Mohammed Atta - who also believed to be a Takfiri - appeared to instruct all 19 of his hijackers to shave their body hair].

Since Taheri's arrest however he has allowed both his hair and his beard to once again grow - there no longer being any need to conceal his identity - a strong indication of his possible involvement with the Takfiris.

More evidence which points to Taheri's possible adherence to Takfir are in his messages of messianic outreach which he has requested, "be made available to the world." Cognizant of the fact that he would go to jail for the rest of his life, he smiled after his arrest, and even thanked the presiding judge saying he was, "thankful you're here to give me this trial and to learn more about the will of Allah."

Taheri's statements leave no doubt as to the degree of his "submission."

"...I discussed my plans with no one but Allah when I prayed to him in the days prior to March 3rd. With Allah's help, I am prepared and will be prepared for a life sentence. I only fear and only respect Allah..." - Militant Islam Monitor

"I live with the holy Koran as my constitution for right and wrong and definition of injustice ." "I did not act of hatred for America but out of love of Allah instead" - University Of North Carolina Jeep Jihadist Claims He Was Avenging The "Deaths Of Muslims"

He also took pains to point out that his actions on behalf of Allah were premeditated and that he was completely sane, "I turned myself in to assure the world that I wasn't some insane person who went on a killing rampage suddenly..."

Taheri's actions appear to be a case study in the Takfiri ideology as set down by Shukri Mustapha, who was born in 1942 in a town in Egypt said to be a "breeding ground for Islamists."

"...Shukri Mustafa's creed rejected modern education and science on the basis that there is no science except in God. He said that The Muslim is obligated to seek his path and knowledge before God alone, and so-called knowledge, which is actually no knowledge at all because it is not founded in the Lord, is forbidden. This marked an important point in Salafism's gradual turning away from modernist rationalism. Placed alongside his views about rationalist interpretation of the Qur'an, this point of view reveals the contradictory nihilism of contemporary takfiri radicalism, which, by rejecting both modernist rationalism and traditionalism, is left with no rudder but the most base of human instincts, resulting in a descent into violence and alienation from humanity. In the hands of takfiri Salafism, the enigmatic living religion of Islam becomes merely an instrument of politics. - Source Link

The Exiles aka The Saviour Sect, also connected to Al Ghurbaa - The Strangers - are presently one of the most public group manifestations of Takfiri ideology. One of the movement's leaders, Omar Bakri Muhammed fled the UK last year after the London suicide bombings, and another leader Abu Hamza Al Masri, was found guilty last month of incitement to murder.

One could speculate that the choice of an SUV murder weapon was also symbolic.

Taheri-azar, who saw himself as a 'slave of Allah' believed it was his duty to punish the "American government" for what it was doing to "his fellow Muslims." By driving his way into a crowd he was literally forcing them to their knees and making them "submit" to the "power" of Islam.

The Salafist Takfiri ideology explains how one of its adherents could have been working hard to attain his degree while at the same time plotting to murder his fellow students and professors. It has been estimated that 80% of Takfiris have a university education.

In his letter to the police Taheri-azar stated, "I do not wish to pursue my career as a student any further because I have no desire to amass the impermanent and temporary fame and material wealth this world has to offer. However I made the decision to continue my studies and to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill so that the world will know that Allah's servants are very intelligent." - Militant Islam Monitor

That the clean professional Taheri was capable of such a level of mayhem shocked his acquaintances:

"We called him Mo-Mo," a neighbor said, "I spoke to him many, many times. A very nice guy. I can't believe this happened."

His employer at a sandwich shop called him, "a model employee."

Mohammed Reza Taheri's terrorist acts should serve as a warning, a sign that the Takfiri movement should be taken seriously. The Takfiris are particularly dangerous because they often have no affiliations with mosques or Muslim groups or organizations and simply lie in wait for the opportunity to strike out.

The public will be well served by understanding that this attack was an act of terror however under a different guise.

The best way to combat Takfiri violence is through social vigilance and through that increased awareness, possibly recognize those who might be morphing into "Islamo-kazes" before they strike

©2006 Beila Rabinowitz, all rights reserved.