Wiesenthal Center: Authorities Must Investigate Whether UC Merced Attacker was Inspired by Online Terrorists

November 10, 2015             


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fully investigate potential online contacts with terrorists that UC Merced student Faisal Mohammad may have had leading up to his stabbing spree last week on campus. The Merced Sun-Star reported that investigators found an image of the Islamic State flag amongst the dead attacker’s belongings.  “A personal brand of knife-wielding terror that is being played out daily across the Middle East and on Israeli streets, has now apparently crossed the Atlantic to our shores,” Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director of the Wiesenthal Center and Aron Hier, the Center’s Director of Campus Outreach, also condemned the attack, saying, “This act of evil is a game changer.”


Center officials expressed these concerns in a series of conversations with the office of UC Merced’s Chancellor. The Chancellor’s office updated SWC officials today on the status of the victims, who are expected to make a full recovery.


Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean who heads the Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate project said, “The Internet, especially Social Media is replete with terrorist digital tutorials and with 24/7 calls to attack “infidels.” Clearly, an 18-year-old freshman would not know how to plan a major assault without having access to some form of training. A logical place for authorities to start their investigation is in the global pro-ISIS online support found on Twitter and other Social Media platforms,” Cooper added.


For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036,  join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).