Commentary

John Zawahri: The Latest “Muslim Sounding Name”

Yearbook photo of John Zawahri
Yearbook photo of John Zawahri

John Zawahri has been identified as the killer who went on the terrible rampage in Santa Monica, California. Reports at the moment suggest that Zawahri’s parents were going through a divorce and that the parental split might have been the reason he killed his brother and father. Reports also suggest that he had problems in the past with mental health issues.

Despite these concerns, the Twitter-sphere is already rife with silly remarks. People have been quick to call Zawahri a Muslim without even knowing if he was religious or a believer of Islam. Zawahri is branded a Muslim because he has a “Muslim sounding name.” One person on Twitter wrote:

Clearly Mark Tenney is not aware of the recent article I wrote which paid respect to Muslim American soldiers who have fought and died in the U.S. military.

Another comment which instantly linked Zawahri to an entire religion:

SafeSecureNJ is referring to Ayman al-Zawahri, current leader of al-Qaeda. So basically any person with the last name Zawahri is guilty of “terrorism” because the leader of al-Qaeda shares the same name.

Of course these remarks on Twitter are ridiculous and baseless. As the days go by the conspiracy theorists will probably mention how John Zawahri was actually a “jihadi al-Qaeda operative” who is in the U.S. on behalf of the Obama administration to impose Islam on the American people. Some Islamophobes will stretch a story a thousand miles in order for it to fit their self-serving prophecy.

When Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut went on his killing spree, people did not ask whether he had a “Christian sounding name” or whether he had been a practicing Christian. Only when a killer has a “Muslim sounding name” is he or she labelled a terrorist.

Many people are carelessly jumping to conclusions without even first knowing the facts of the Zawahri matter. What we do know, however, is that people want to associate Islam to violence no matter the situation.

*Note: The title of this post has been changed since its publication this morning. I had included the word “victim,” but have since realized that the word is not appropriate. I have since removed it so as to not upset people.

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55 thoughts on “John Zawahri: The Latest “Muslim Sounding Name”

  1. Sorry dude… Look up the info and unfortunately muslims are responsible for one attack after another. Additionally, when a non muslim nut job goes on a killing spree he doesn’t go around yelling glory to Christ, but the muslims DO!!!! They take life in the name of allah…. Wake up….

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      1. Let’s be more specific.
        Since 9/11/2001, how many similar heinous crimes
        have been committed by 1) Jews 2) Christians 3) Muslims 4) others.
        Stretching terrorist attacks to 1980 has no relevance now.

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      2. Do your homework and investigate the groups that are listed in these websites…. Many of the groups ARE muslim groups and the other groups like Omega 7 are anti-communist groups that were not striking against the U.S. but against communist reps in this country…. so again I ask, Terrorist attacks by non muslims?? Please tell me which other religious or race of people have been engaged in attacks against westerners….Shoe bomber, London Bombers, madrid bombers, Cole bombers, beltway snipers, embassy bomber, underwear bomber, Ft. Hood massacre, WOrld Trade Center bombings (TWICE), Beslan child-murderers, Time Square bomber, London beheadings, and now Santa Monica.

        your turn now……

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      3. Watch interviews with his mother, she’s like a rabid dog…..doesn’t care if her son is killed she blames America for her son’s violence,while the whole family was here sucking the system,than turning on us planting a bomb right next to a child…
        Why do you defend them ?

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    1. I’m confused. Is the author saying that a mass shooting is not a ‘terrorist attack’?

      “…So basically any person with the last name Zawahri (who then shoots and kills a bunch of people with an AR-15) is guilty of “terrorism” because the leader of al-Qaeda shares the same name…”

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      1. That’a basically true, a mass shooting is not a terrorist attack unless that was the intent. It’s not the event, it’s the intent behind the event that makes a terrorist attack. And an actual physical attack is not required to be a terrorist act, just making the public statement “I will kill you and everyone like you” is enough to qualify as a terrorist act. It is rarely prosecuted, otherwise the comments section to just about every bicycle wreck published on the Internet would have multiple acts of terrorism.

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  2. You should not call someone who murders others a victim.

    People should be judged as individuals, not treated as allies of madmen because they belong to a particular religion, ethnicity, or other type of group. This man, as an individual, was a spree murderer and should be judged for his terrible actions. Calling him a victim because some people jump to conclusions makes no rational sense, whatsoever. Four dead people are the victims. The wounded and traumatized are the victims. He isn’t.

    Most Muslims are not violent. I strongly suspect that nearly all of them would be good people, if there were no political or theological pressures. Unfortunately, governments and religious leaders have radicalized a number of Muslims to condone, support, and even participate in atrocities. Terror groups and theocratic tyrannical leaders could not do what they do without the support of others.

    When nearly half a billion women in the world are subjugated and treated like second-class citizens, or worse, there is something fundamentally wrong with the culture which perpetuates this, century after century. Those women are victims. The men who treat them like cattle are not victims because others judge, correctly so, that such treatment of women is abominable. This murderer, John Zawahri, Muslim or not, is not a victim. In rare instances when someone attacks a Muslim in retaliation for what other Muslims have done, that person is a victim Jo.hn Zawahri is not.

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
    ― Steven Weinberg

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      1. He was a victim of prejudice for his name. However, in a sensitive situation, it was not the best word choice. Seems like a fair and balanced article.

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    1. Your comment starts out nicely but then you perpetuate the typical stereotype that all half billion of Muslim women are subjugated. Please get a chance to meet the Muslim women around you instead of falling for propaganda articles from Washington Post. PLEASE!

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  3. I was born in the Middle East — my name is Farid Rushdi — and I can tell you that the vast majority of people with Arab-sounding names are Muslim.

    Based on my experiences of having been born there but raised here, he could be a second generation American considering his first name. One of my good friends growing up was Adam Aziz Hussein.

    Or he could be a Christian-converted Muslim.

    Or he could be a Mormon, like me (boy, I don’t do anything the easy way, huh?)

    But seriously, I’m from there, grew up speaking Arabic, and when I saw his name his religion was the first thing that came to my mind.

    Might not be right from a PC perspective, but is certainly is from a “keep me from getting killed” perspective.

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    1. So, if you’re from the Middle East, you should know that there are millions of Arabized Christians, in addition to Armenians, Arameans, Copts, and Assyrians in the Middle East. These people have been Christian since before Islam even existed. There is no need to speculate that any Arab Christian is most-likely a convert from Islam.

      By-the-way, it’s easy to tell that an Arabic family is Christian when they have Christian names like George, Stephen, Elias, and even John, Christopher and Rhanda.

      There is nothing worse than having Jihadists slaughter your Christian people, seeking asylum in the West, and then having Westerners denying you of your Christian origins that go back to the Apostles.

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  4. @Libby, there are MILLIONS of Muslims worldwide, do you really believe they’re ALL murderers? I mean seriously, to think that would just make you ignorant. These so called ‘Muslims’ that kill in the name of Allah, are brainwashed, coldblooded murderers who are using their religion as a scapegoat. I’m a Muslim, I do not believe in violence, and I’m sure there are millions of Muslims like myself who also don’t condone violence. I hate people who jump to conclusion and start generalizing based on what a MINORITY have done. These lunatics are giving Islam a bad rep. Murderers are murderers, regardless of their excuse to kill, Hitler killed Jews because he hated them and did not believe they should exist. People like Adam Lanza have killed because they were ‘mentally ill’, these so called Muslims have killed in the name of their religion, because they THINK that is right, and weren’t in their right mind. So before you go on a hate rampage of Islam, know that there are many other Muslims out there in this big world, and MAJORITY of us do not believe in killing innocent people contrary to what people like you might believe.

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    1. Your presumed “link” with Lanza is wrong. His similarities had to do more with the drugs he was on, then his violent religious beliefs. The muslim religion is not a peaceful one. Not even remotely so, unless you consider their flavor of peace is when the infidels are dead….
      And here’s an idea. Leave your damn culture at the door.

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      1. Actually, Zarawhi had a history of psychological problems. I’m guessing that in time we will learn more about this history. With that said you’re point is baseless and ignorant. Your comments about Islam are absurd and have absolutely no validity.

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      2. Neo, it is people like you that spread hate in this world. I feel sorry for you. Your hatred toward a whole religion has distorted your judgment and thus, no use trying make you understand that you shouldn’t judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few.

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      3. Islam is a religion of peace. Read the Quran if you can read.
        Making the general statement is like saying Baptists are evil because of the Westboro Baptist Church.
        What door do you propose we leave our culture? What culture are you discussing? All or are you just a racist bigot and get to choose the one you like?

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      1. “If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Al-Qur’an 5:32) This passage suggests that killing, especially innocent civilians, is strictly forbidden in Islam.

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    2. We are not saying ALL Muslims are terrorists? We are just asking, “Was THIS terrorist a Muslim. I think that’s a fair question in view of the fact that Muslim terrorists have been responsible for so many terrorist activities and attempted acts of terror since 9-11.

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  5. muslims who kill in the name of Allah are ignorant just as people who are quick to label Islam with violence. Perhaps learning about Islam from authentic sources would be a enlightment to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

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    1. I don’t need to know anymore about a religion that keeps their women imprisoned in a sack, have rules on how to beat your woman and deny them education and can still manage to call themselves men.

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      1. (DISMAS) YOU ARE SO WRONG AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU MAKE HATE IN THE WORLD …..I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU GET YOUR INFO FROM BUT THIS IS 2013 WAKE UP …

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  6. It is quite amazing how small group of people can come to the conclusion about an entire group of people based simply on their religious or ethnic background. Consider that millions of planes take off and land every day of every year, but the moment one or a few planes crash, that becomes a national headline. Does that make flying an evil or dangerous thing to do? Living each day carries its own degree of risk but most of us don’t even think about it let alone consider ending our lives because of the inherent risks that come with living. Neither does it stop most of us from flying. There is some evil but a greater good in all people of all race, religion or nationality. Evil is neither the exclusivity of one group of people nor is good the monopoly of others. Let’s be more objective that in real life, we are faced daily with any possibility of good or evil. It is how we react to it that makes us the worse or the best among humanity.

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    1. Upon what characteristics would you have us judge groups of people? This is not a spiritual judgement, it’s a practical one. Islam is an enemy of the West. I guess to you a terrorist is one who commits a terrorist act. That would make self defense rather impossible. In WW2 the Germans were presumed enemies. They didn’t have to shoot anyone in the neighborhood to be the object of suspicion and the target of reprisals. We didn’t say – not ALL Germans are bad, though of course they weren’t all bad. It was well understood to be beside the point. We didn’t say we can’t defend against them as a national or ethnic or linguistic or ideological group — that wouldn’t be politically correct. We must wait until they’ve shown their hand by committing a act of violence. Don’t be ridiculous. Islam is ideologically incompatible with Western values. They will only remain peaceful as long as they’re less powerful than we. Once they achieve power they will oppress and punish and murder the Infidels — all of us. You should read Sir Winston Churchill’s assessment of Islam. Google Churchill Islam and be prepared for frank, well reasoned, unbiased and non-hateful assessment. Thank God we outgun them technologically — or there would be hell to pay. Of course our current “leader” is on their side, so we’ve got to be very careful. The only ones he and his minions treat as suspects are the constitutionalists, the middle class whites, the soldiers, the lovers of freedom, the tax protesters, the conservatives and anyone who in any way questions or might question his authority and the sanctity of his agenda.

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  7. Of course it is a gross exaggeration to suggest that all Muslims are killers. But it is also naive and ignorant not to see that the Islamic world is undergoing a perception of resurgence as a world power. Islam spread through half of the world1300 years ago based upon its sanctification of conquest, murder, and forced conversion. Now many Islamic religious leaders are advocating a return to the policies that made Islam great. It is foolish to ignore that and consider Islam like other religions that advocate peace and humanity.

    American Muslims are largely a peaceful group, set apart from the violent culture of the Middle East. If they do not want to be labeled as violent extremists, they should clean up their own house rather than leave it up to non-Muslims to identify and neutralize the few killers. The peaceful American Muslims should act as informers and stand up vocally to oppose those imams and believers who are dangerous. That is how they should expect America to respect them.

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  8. … it is not about millions of Muslims BUT fact is that meanwhile when you read/see news about shootings/bombing attacks it most of the times involves a member of this religion… it unfortunately can’t be denied.

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  9. Let’s compare the actions and deeds of the main characters of the New Testament and the Koran and hadith:
    Jesus never commanded an army, Muhammad did
    Jesus never ordered people to be killed, Mohammad did
    Jesus never banished other religions from the land, Muhammad did
    Jesus never ordered amputations, blinding or torture, Muhammad did
    Jesus did not have 11 wives, Muhammad did
    Jesus did not take his stepson’s wife, Muhammad did
    Jesus did not order the assassination of his critics, Muhammad did
    Jesus did not terrorize neighboring unbelieving tribes, Muhammad did
    Jesus did not ask a father if he could marry his 6 year old daughter when he was 53, Muhammad did
    Jesus saved an adulterer from stoning, Muhammad reintroduced it
    Jesus was a victim, Muhammad was a victimizer.
    Jesus was a teacher and alleged healer, Muhammad was a warlord and conquerer

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  10. I thought Zawarhi was a muslim because that is the religion that is committing the terrorist attacks in this decade, the Christians did their murders in a different century. The Koran and the bible are equally cruel and violent. “Religion poisons everything.”

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  11. Are all Muslims radical Islamists and terrorists? No. Nor were all Germans rabid nazis and genocidal racists. However, the German culture at that historical period produced that kind of individual — and produced millions who tolerated and aided it. Also, Islam encourages the killing of Infidels. No other major religion proposes such radical anti-human oppression. Kill your daughters for becoming westernized? Kill your neighbor for refusing to adopt your faith? Don’t try to reach back to the Crusades to find a corporate action by a branch of Christianity to create a phony equality. I’ve heard so many deceived or dishonest analysts try to compare Christian radicals and Jewish radicals to Islamic radicals. We’re talking here and now. The values of Western Civilization are anathema to Islam. Their vision of the future is that the 12th Imam cannot appear until the entire world is under the Caliphate. Our vision of civilization and the future is incompatible with Islam’s. Does this mean we go out and exterminate them all? No. But it should mean that we limit their access to the west — and absolutely refuse to compromise our cultural and judicial standards for them. Sharia is their religion, not a byproduct of it. They are oppressive totalitarians — hence their natural appeal for the current American administration. The left believes it can use Islam and be friends with Islam, then later control Islam. Not going to work. Our government is currently trying to fundamentally transform our nation — and because they sense the inherent resistance in the people — they designate those who support the constitution, those who support home schooling, those who would like to reform or replace the IRS, those who have traditional values, Christians, conservatives, those who are suspicious of the UN and its intentions, those who strongly support Israel, those returning from war, those who oppose the template for totalitarianism, ObamaCare, those who demand recognition of what they own — the birthright of God-given freedom — as the agents of terror. The enemy is now within. They seek to destroy the fabric of our American Culture. Our enemy is their friend. They believe that they have a common goal with Islam. The shrinking of the USA economically, militarily, culturally. They do have in common a hatred and fear of freedom. That’s actually the true definition of political correctness — guidelines imposed from above as to what to think and what to say. Their economic policy, their moral code, their transparency and openness and educational policies are all the same — that which empowers them — and strips us of our power, our rights. They protect Islam in order to keep the fifth column working and to justify their usurpation of authority. If not for “terrorism” and “global warming” and “racial injustice” and “gun violence” and so on and so on — then how could they justify stealing what does not belong to them — and then designating it as a boon to the people, a helping hand, protection – and most obscenely — as the fulfillment of the promises of America.
    They lie about everything. The time is here to stop believing anything they say. To reject they illegitimate power. To reinstitute the America that was (is) the greatest nation on earth. To the transformers I say — get back into the hole you crawled out of, if you can squeeze past the 12th imam crawling toward the surface.

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  12. The last name means nothing, it is an “Arabic” name not a “Muslim” name, so Arab Christians or any religion or even athiest Arab families can have that name,. As for the first name, Arab Muslims don’t name their children with western non-Arabic names such as John and Christopher (the killer’s brother’s name), there might be exceptions, but I haven’t heard of them. The ones who would name their children with western names are non-Muslim Arabs.

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  13. How many military veterans here? How many posted on here? I am curious because I am seeing a whole lot of “not all muslims are violent” and I have to tell you that you will one day become a “victim” because of your ignorance. Watch the news, do some research (please do not believe everything you see on the internet, television or in print, check all sources) and check the US alone. Look to see how many violent protests are happening and WHY. Check to see WHO has been conducting the terror attacks. The CT shooting was not a terror attack, that was pure murder. The Boston Bombing was a terror attack by whom? Muslim. In England (*or UK) who was it that beheaded that young soldier? and why?

    What I am saying is, your ignorance (not having full information, education, experience on the subject) shows that you are trying to “run to the aid of someone being bullied” and all you are doing is looking like someone who is kicking the sand because you cannot get your way. Muslim sounding name, you are right that I would personally be on the alert, no matter what, because the amount of “bad” people on our soil at any given time means I need to ensure I keep my family and myself safe from these animals that want to kill for Allah.

    So, when I said “victim” that would infer that you were unknowingly trusting the wrong people in every situation, so I cannot say you would be the victim because you are knowingly supporting “everyone” as innocent…until they do something wrong. I almost feel sorry for you but then again, that would fall on deaf ears because you are too busy trying to follow the herd. Sad day indeed

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    1. No way you can call the recent beheading in the UK a “terror attack”. A soldier serving in the army of a nation at war was killed. Terrorism is defined as the targeting of civilians. Those African guys went out of their way to get a soldier. They could’ve easy murdered civilians but they chose not to.

      Nice try, Army Boy.

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  14. If we’re talking about who commits terrorism, no one can top Christians and Christianity. The invasion of Eye-Rack and killing of over 1 million innocent civilians there far overshadows 9/11 or any of the other acts perpetrated by Muslims.

    Al-Qaida is a bunch of amateurs compared to the sophisticated terror outfit that is the US government and military.

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  15. Try this Craig… Last time there was an abortion clinic shooting or bombing, did the media immediately try to establish a link to a “right-wing Christian extremist”? Funny how the media did not even want to address the question of Zawahri’s faith…. when any decent journalist could figure it out in about 30 minutes hitting the streets in his neighborhood.

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    1. Steve-o, in the case of the Boston Marathon attacks, the perpetrators’ ethnic, political, and religious background was important – their attacks were seen as retaliation for US invasion of Muslim nations and massacre of civilians there.

      However, in the case of John Zawhiri, the attacks were related to mental illness and family issues – NOT politics or religion.

      It’s pretty clear, actually, if you we’re but able to open your eyes.

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      1. We now find out he was sent a mental hospital because he told them he was going to blow up his high school and they found bomb making material there. He should have been sent to Jail back then. Not a mental hospital
        .

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  16. I would just like to know why there is nothing on the gunman. No notes on motive. If he had been white we would have automatically heard he must have been a tea partier, rw’er etc… If it was mental illness so be it… but the story seems to have died since the incident.

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  17. Not all Arabs are violent, if it where, we would not have hearing Casey Kasem, the voice of Shaggy, or St. Jude’s hospital founder, Danny Thomas, the actor, James Stacy (Maurice William Elias), Hagar slacks, Jamie Farr (the actor of the highest rated sitcom finale in TV history), Vic Tayback from Alice on television.

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