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Mosque Members Say Calif. Shooter Was A Quiet Man


We're also learning about the married couple who, police say, ended 14 lives, including the lives we just heard about. The conversation that follows will not answer the big question, which is why they acted as they did. We do get a picture of some of the daily life of the alleged shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.


We get it from the director of the Islamic Center of Riverside. Farook prayed at that mosque twice a day from about 2012 to 2014. Kelly McEvers, host of NPR's All Things Considered, is in San Bernardino and sat down with Mustafa Kuko.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So you knew Mr. Farook very well. Can you tell us about him?

MUSTAFA KUKO: My knowledge of him as a decent guy, a mild mannered person. He speaks with a very soft and gentle voice and looked very peaceful. He doesn't get into any arguments or any dispute with anyone, you know? So he's not very much a social person. But he used to talk to me. He used to come at least twice a day on a regular basis unless during the times when he was overseas in Saudi Arabia. And he appeared to be someone who's very much committed to the religion of Islam, you know, taking it a little bit serious. And you feel that he's trying to carry his obligation - religious obligations - to the letter and word.

MCEVERS: And so when you say he was serious about Islam and studying Islam, you know, you said he came to pray two times a day, but what else makes you say that?

KUKO: The seriousness appears in his regularity. He comes on daily basis, including the weekends - Saturdays and Sundays. And he comes every morning very early in the morning - sometimes our service is around 4:30 in the morning.


KUKO: And that's - I felt it indicative of a commitment to the religion.

MCEVERS: And so how did you find out? Where were you when you found out?

KUKO: When I got his name - we do have a sister that she is his coworker - a Muslim sister from our organization here, she's very active with us. And he shot her and was planning to kill her.

MCEVERS: She was a coworker of Syed Farook?

KUKO: She was a coworker, but she's here from our mosque. And he shot her, and she's in the hospital right now. She received about four bullets in her body. But she's okay.

MCEVERS: So he must've known her.

KUKO: Oh, definitely. Definitely he knows her.

MCEVERS: What do you think about that?

KUKO: That's crazy. That's very bad. I don't know exactly how someone can do something like this unless he has lost his mind completely. Someone who is pure-minded cannot do that. Definitely.

INSKEEP: That's Mustafa Kuko, director of the Islamic Center of Riverside speaking with NPR's Kelly McEvers of All Things Considered. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kelly McEvers is a two-time Peabody Award-winning journalist and former host of NPR's flagship newsmagazine, All Things Considered. She spent much of her career as an international correspondent, reporting from Asia, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East. She is the creator and host of the acclaimed Embedded podcast, a documentary show that goes to hard places to make sense of the news. She began her career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago.
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