The Barakat Case: Are There Larger Implications?

The Fargo shooter's arsenal. (Credit: CBS News/WCCO)

Last week, we saw the story broken of one Mohamed Barakat, who was bound to carry out a mass shooting in Fargo, North Dakota, until members of the Fargo Police Department engaged and stopped him dead (literally). Now, a little over a week later, we aren’t seeing a lot about Mohamed Barakat’s background other than his coming to the US as a refugee from war-torn Syria. But that background, while sketchy, is significant and has greater implications as to our immigration policies.

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Believe it or not, there was an Islamic terror attack in Fargo, North Dakota, earlier this month, one that local law enforcement believes could have resulted in countless casualties instead of the one police officer killed. Like so many people from Syria last decade, Mohamad Barakat was brought to the U.S. as an asylee and became a citizen in 2019. He returned the favor on July 14 by allegedly randomly firing 60 rounds from his car near the site of a car crash on 25th Street. Likely waiting for police and first responders to come to the scene, Barakat allegedly gunned down three police officers in an unprovoked attack, killing Officer Jake Wallin and seriously injuring Officers Tyler Hawes and Andrew Dotas, as well as a female civilian.

Fargo, ND, is a place one generally associates with quirky movie crime dramas, not jihad attacks – but here we are. While authorities and the legacy media have been close-mouthed on the jihad angle, the preparations Barakat made sure look like the stuff of Islamic terrorism.

This was not your run-of-the-mill street thug or mentally ill mass shooter. Given the lack of criminal record or manifesto left behind, this has the hallmarks of a targeted jihad. Police found 1,800 live rounds in his vehicle, along with three rifles and four handguns, all of which were loaded. Barakat also had a grenade, gas canisters, and explosives in his car. According to North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, the car was filled with large amounts of Tannerite, a highly dangerous explosive compound made from ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder.

Wrigley further speculated that Barakat “was looking for significant crowd events in the area. We do know he had a clear path, he was going to downtown Fargo.” Indeed, if not for Officer Zach Robinson taking out the gunman’s rifle from 75 feet (with a 9mm pistol), this could have been a mass casualty event, because Barakat appeared to be on his way to the Downtown Street Fair, according to Wrigley at the official press conference.

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And Barakat had done his homework, which is even more revealing:

The FBI found a computer in Barakat’s apartment nearby that contained a search history revealing he looked up “mass casualty events” and how to cause certain injuries, according to the attorney general. Ominously, the last article that appeared in his search history was a local news article titled “Thousands enjoy first day of Downtown Fargo Street Fair.”

Unfortunately, the FBI still believes there is no motive and of course is totally flummoxed by the attack. Don’t expect the bureau ever to find a motive, and don’t expect this attack ever to wind its way into public policy debates.

At least one local media outlet reported on Barakat’s actions and, more significantly, his homework.

 

 

Of course, the FBI will never find a motive. We are left to speculate, and anyone with enough smarts to pound sand will certainly infer what that motive was.

Which brings us to our country’s immigration policies.

We not only encourage mass immigration from unstable places like Syria, we settle those people in insulated communities in small towns. In Fargo, ND schools, 23 percent of the students are foreign-born. Of Syrian refugees admitted into the US with very little screening, 98 percent have been Sunni Muslims. It’s not “Islamophobic” to point out that the primary perpetrators of jihadi terror attacks are not Amish or Methodist but Muslim, that most of the perps are young Muslim men, that Mohamed Barakat was a young Muslim man, and that he apparently followed the jihadi playbook, right down to the improvised explosives.

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North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum initiated the policy of near-unlimited resettlement of refugees in that state, said resettlement continuing today with mostly un-screened Afghan refugees. The Barakat incident has revealed, very plainly, that the pursuit of these policies at both the federal and the North Dakota state level are endangering people in small towns like Fargo.

The United States is a vast nation with ample resources; we are also a generous nation, and it’s not inappropriate to extend a hand to genuine refugees fleeing war or unrest. But those refugees must be carefully screened, especially (objections of profiling be d***ed) young, military-aged men. At the moment, the very failure of those policies is why the FBI and much of the legacy media are so tight-lipped about Mohamed Barakat, his origins, and his likely motivations.

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