Catfish terrorism? Online dating led to social media matchup for San Bernardino killers

Tashfeen Malik and husband Syed Rizwan Farook (Image Source: San Bernardino Sheriffs Department)
Tashfeen Malik and husband Syed Rizwan Farook (Image Source: San Bernardino Sheriffs Department)

The danger of social media dating has entered the world of terrorism. The San Bernardino couple who killed 14 people in a bloody rampage met online first. The pair was using an online dating service for Muslims when they first made contact. Tashfeen Malik, who moved to the US last year when she married Syed Rizwan Farook, spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia. Some are saying that Farook was “catfished” into marriage and radical terrorism by Malik.

Relatives state that Malik went from wearing western style clothing and then began wearing a full burqa that covered her from head–to-toe. She became more religious and met her future husband for the first time face-to face while on the Islamic pilgrimage known as the Hajj. Within months, Chicago born Syed Rizwan Farook was married and Malik moved to America. Soon, the couple would have a daughter, who is now 6 months-old.


The couple was at first well liked and accepted into the Muslim community around their Redland, CA neighborhood. But many members of the mosque noticed that Farook began acting strangely since he was married and stopped coming to prayers. The couple also began to alienate family members and became isolated. The FBI has noted the descent into radicalization and that Malik played a major role. The investigation into the extreme planning of the shooting, weapons and a bomb factory is ongoing. The FBI has also stated that Malik posted to Facebook her allegiance to ISIS during the terrorist rampage.

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