Saturday, July 23, 2016

Munich Attack not Jihadist, not Far-Right but a "Classic Shooting Rampage"

Ali David Sonboly

The term "classic shooting rampage" was taken from The Mirror. The fact that we now apparently have classic shooting rampages is obviously grotesque.

The shooter has been identified as Ali David Sonboly, 18, of Munich.

He had dual German-Iranian citizenship and lived with his Iranian immigrant parents.

I assume from the name "Ali" that he was a Muslim.

However, the evidence suggests that Sonboly was not primarily motivated by Islamic ideology but rather by rage over being bullied.

Apparently he had an obsession with mass shootings and had received treatment for mental health issues.

That Sonboly was a mentally-ill teenager who was obsessed with shooting rampages for their own sake (as opposed to sympathizing with a particular ideological cause), might possibly explain why he apparently shouted out "contradictory" slogans in the first few seconds of his shooting spree.
Allahu Akbar!
You s**tty ... foreigners. I am German. You will get it!
I can only assume he was acting out roles in his twisted mind  - "Allah Akbar" as an acknowledgment of his religious heritage and the recent wave of terror attacks, and "You s**tty ... foreigners" as an imitation of the Norwegian Neo-Nazi mass-shooter Anders Breivik, whose photo Sonboly used as his WhatsApp profile photo.

Edit: It seems now that the only evidence of any Breivik link (besides the circumstantial evidence of the date off the attack) is a report from Bild that acquaintances had claimed to see the Breivik profile photo. This should make us cautious. 

Against the view that he was primarily motivated by Islam:

There are a number of reports that he made threats to his "bullying" school peers - some of whom appear to be Muslim - that he would "kill them all."

There are no reports that jihadist materials were found in the apartment where he lived. But there were a number of items discovered pertaining to shooting rampages, such as the bestselling book, Why Kids Kill.

Sonboly allegedly had an image of Breivik as his WhatsApp profile image. And the attack occurred on the precise five-year anniversary of the Breivik attack. Breivik initially claimed that he was motivated to kill seventy-seven people - most off them children or teenagers - by his opposition to Islam. He would seem an odd hero for a Jihadi.    

Sonboly hacked the Facebook account of a Muslim young woman, making an offer to buy free food for her friends at the McDonald's where he planned to initiate his attack. It has not been confirmed that any of the victims were lured to the restaurant by this, but most of the victims appear to be Muslim teenagers, among them were three Kosovaars and three Turks.

In a bizarre verbal exchange with an observer who was filming him after the initial attack, he seemed to reaffirm that he wanted to be known as German.

The shooting rampage ended when Sonboly shot himself in the head. This is almost unheard of behavior for a Jihadi.

On the other hand, some have argued that Sonboly was motivated by or "had links" with the far-right. But this doesn't seem correct either:

If the Bild report is true, it looks like Sonboly might have thought of Breivik as a hero - or at least notable enough to use as a profile photo. But no far-right political writings or materials were reported found, and Sonboly appears to have left no political manifesto. From the rest of the evidence, If he looked up to Breivik, I assume it was for the grotesque but simple reason that Breivik was one of the most "successful" mass shooters in history.

Far-right terrorists don't usually shout "Allahu Akbar!"

See the evidence on bullying, above.


I expect people will continue to argue about this question interminably. And there is much more information that will presumably come out. I might be wrong in my assessment. We'll see.

Not all terrorist attacks are motivated by Islam. But these days, most are. 

As I write, the death toll in the Kabul suicide bomb attack has reached 81.

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