By Paul Miller | Watchdog.org
When Ismaaiyl Brinsley set out to murder two New York City police officers, his motive may have been more than revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the two men killed by police. Brinsley appears to have been influenced by Islamic extremism.
On his Instagram account several months ago, Brinsley revealed he was planning to visit “Al-Farooq Tomorrow inshallah.” This appears to be a reference to Masjid Al-Farooq in Brooklyn, a mosque with a history of hosting terror sympathizers and allegedly raising funds for al-Qaeda.
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know (but) whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.
But Brinsley’s interaction with Islam reveals an attraction to the violence that characterizes extremist groups and a lack of familiarity with the religion’s basic tenets. On social media, Brinsley related his fistfight last month with a panhandler in Atlanta. The brawl ended, Brinsley said, when he discovered the man was also a Muslim: “We Good Now, its All Love.” Brinsley invited the panhandler to join him for a beer at a bar. Alcohol consumption is forbidden in the Muslim religion.
Hours before the New York City shooting, Brinsley shot his sometime girlfriend Shaneka Thompson in her Baltimore home. She is expected to make a full recovery.
The New York City Police Department declined to tell Watchdog.org whether it is investigating the shooting as a terror act.
Paul Miller is a contributor to Watchdog.org’s parent organization, the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.