So, another Muslim goes on a homicidal rampage, and the German police concluded it must have been a right wing thing.
On Friday, July 22, 2016, the German city of Munich witnessed its first major mass shooting after the infamous massacre during the 1972 Summer Olympics, when 11 Israeli Olympic team members and a German police officer were killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
At 5:52 pm local time, a 18-year old of Iranian descent, opened fire at a McDonald’s west of the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum (OEZ) shopping mall in the Moosach district of the city, the third largest city in Germany.
To date, there have been reported 10 deaths (including three Turks, reported by France 24), including the gunman (who, apparently, ended his own life by gun-inflicted wounds), and over 20 others injured.
From the facts gathered so far by the initial police investigations, media reports, and video footage, it appears that there are a series of atypical elements that would distinguish this terrorist attack, also committed by an alleged Muslim, from other recent terrorist attacks committed by Muslims.
Thus what we know, and what has been generally reported: the attacker, Ali David Sonboly, acted alone; he had no previous criminal record; he was possibly mentally disturbed; he was an Iranian national, so probably a Shia, not a Sunni ISIS militant; he lived in a Turkish neighborhood, and apparently, he did not like the Turks (who are Sunni). Also, the attack took place five years after the July 22, 2011 Norway attacks, when a 32-year old far-right terrorist, Anders Breivik, killed 77 leftist activists at a retreat outside Oslo. At least one witness reported that the Munich attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” before the attack.
The media has typically been focused on the fact that he may have been 'depressed", as they have been inclined to do after almost every massacre involving Muslim perpetrators. In this case, they've been quick to downplay the Muslim connection, going so far to imply that he was a right winger inspired by Breivik, the BBC actually scrubbing his first name, Ali, from reports, calling him David instead.
The atypical aspects of this latest terrorist attack might reasonably lead investigative journalists to consider some different possibilities.
One could also consider whether this event might embody the troubled Sunni-Shia relations which in the last decades, have been marked by sectarian violence, regional conflicts, inter-state wars, civil wars, and genocide in the Middle Eastern states of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen and Pakistan. If that's the case, it suggests that these horrible conflicts between the two major denominations of Islam have been transferred and imported now into the heart of Europe. Perhaps making the 2016 Munich shooting the beginning of a new trend in Islamic terrorism.
And maybe, after seeing the apparent speed with which the Afghan teenager was radicalized in the Würzburg attacks, people need to consider whether, in spite of an ostensibly Shia background, he was also inspired to commit an act of martyrdom, kill some apostates for Allah, and check out. Even if he maybe (also) wanted revenge for bullying at school.
Events move rapidly.
Only a few days later, Sunday, July 24, in the German city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart, a 21-year old Syrian asylum-seeker killed a pregnant woman with a machete, and injured another two people, in what the police called "a spontaneous conflict, not a terrorist attack".
Sunday evening yet another attack in Germany. A Syrian migrant blows him self up in Ansbach outside a festival. He did this 'apparently' because he didn't meet asylum requirements and was upset. In this case injuring 12 people. When they say injury after a bomb or shooting attack, you really don't know if that means paralyzed, permanently disfigured, or what.
What we've heard so far about the Iranian teenager is a little thin, considering this incident appears to follow other bloody events in the past week having the same actors. We know what the German police have said publicly.
Just as we now know that the German police weren't forthcoming about Cologne and the French police suppressed evidence that terrorists tortured their victims in Paris. All in the interest of the public good, of course.
TIBERIU DIANU is a scholar and author of several books and articles in law and post-communist societies. He studied law, human rights, and criminal justice at the universities of Bucharest (Romania), Strasbourg (France), Oxford and Manchester (U.K.), American University (Washington, DC), and University of Maryland at College Park (Maryland). He currently lives in Washington, DC, where he works for various government and private agencies.