Federal investigators have declared the shooting death of 14 people in San Bernardino an “act of terrorism,” but they say there’s still no evidence that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were part of an ISIS network. However, guidelines the terrorist group posted for women who want to become jihadists show that while ISIS does give direct orders in some situations, ISIS sympathizers can act on their own in others. Either way, ISIS is the controlling entity.
According to ARA News, an independent Syrian press agency, ISIS released new rules for female jihadists last month. The guidelines were developed in response to an Arab woman who wasn’t part of a network but wanted to serve the mujahideen if war came to Saudi Arabia (where Malik was living before she married Farook and came to the United States).
ISIS responded to the “female sympathizer” by releasing a statement including basic guidelines for all jihadi women. This is from the ARA News report:
‘Women can make jihad to support the religion of God according to their capabilities, whether by nursing, sewing, or serving through cooking, washing and other things,’ the ISIS-linked Zura Foundation quoted the group’s statement as saying.
The group pointed out if a woman is raided in her house, she may defend herself with weapons, detonating her suicide belt if needed. ‘She has the right to bomb it without the permission of others (apparently from the group),’ the statement read.
‘She also can fight without the permission of others, in case she was under attack by infidels,’ said the group’s Foundation, adding: ‘Women are allowed to carry out martyrdom (suicidal) operations only if the Emir (ISIS leading member) orders it.’
‘Women may use a sniper rifle according to orders from the Emir,’ the group argued.
The statement added that women are also invited to military training only if they were dressed according to Sharia and separated from men.
How does this apply to the attack in San Bernardino? First, Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook. Second, ISIS called the couple “lions” on social media just after the attack—“lions” is a designation usually reserved for militants affiliated with ISIS. Third, Reuters has reported that Saturday in an online radio broadcast, al-Bayan, ISIS called Malik and her husband “followers of the Islamic State.” Finally, the Daily Mail is reporting that she had links to Pakistan’s most notorious radical cleric and mosque.
Given these facts, it’s clear that the couple served the interests of the Islamic State, and according to the guidelines set down for jihadi women, Malik would not have needed direct orders to carry out an attack unless she planned to die in it.
There has been no indication from police reports that the couple had on suicide vests or that they were using “sniper rifles,” which would have required approval by a leading member of ISIS. However, if there is any proof that Malik knew she would die in that attack, if she used a sniper rifle, had on a suicide belt, or planned to wear one, she would have needed direct approval from an ISIS leader.
In its response on social media after the attacks, ISIS said, “Welcome to a new era” in terrorism. This is what that new era looks like. Followers of ISIS anywhere in the world have their directives. This is true for women and men. They don’t need to wait for specific commands, because they are of one mind.
These are not lone wolves acting on inspiration alone. They have orders already. They don’t even need to rely on ISIS to formulate a plan or find a target. That’s up to them. Whether it’s at an Army base or a Christmas party, they can attack the infidels anywhere, any time, and for any apparent “situational” reason. The goal is the same: Destroy the American way of life—all in allegiance to the Islamic State.