Aurora shooter Islam: There have been reports that James Holmes, the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooter, converted to Islam.
There have been reports that James Holmes, the alleged gunman in a July 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and scores more wounded, has converted to Islam.
The Daily Mail cited the National Enquirer tabloid. Later, Fox News, the Washington Times, UPI, and several other media sites have picked up the report. And a number of conservative blogs, including Breitbart.com, also picked it up.
“He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels,” a source, who was not named and whose position was not identified, told the National Enquirer, according to the Mail. The National Enquirer did not post the story online.
The Daily Mail reports that Homes converted to Islam as a way to justify his shooting spree and said that his new beard is a “symbol of his new-found faith.”
The source, however, said that Holmes’ new faith has angered some of the other Muslim inmates. “None of them condone forms of terrorism or extremism,” the source said. “And they don’t want their religion to be connected to that awful shooting.”
But on the Jihad Watch blog, there was a debate over whether Holmes indeed converted to Islam. They also questioned whether he converted before or after the shooting last year.
“Did Holmes officially convert AFTER the shootings? Perhaps so, but was he IN THE PROCESS of conversion beforehand?” the group tweeted.
It added: “Actually,if Holmes’ conversion was initiated post-massacre, it does lend to the canard that violence in Islam is perpetrated only by the extreme, misguided.”
Slate.com’s Alex Seitz-Wald also panned the Daily Mail and other media’s citing of the National Enquirer, which has openly admitted to paying sources for tips in the past.
“All of the posts are based on the Washington Times report, which is in turn based on a report from the Daily Mail, the irreverent and often erroneous British tabloid,” he writes. “The Daily Mail’s sourcing? An even more disreputable outfit: One unnamed ‘prison source’ quoted by the National Enquirer.”
For the Aurora, Colo., shooting spree, Holmes has been charged with 166 counts, including murder, attempted murder, and related charges. If convicted, he could spend life in prison. Earlier this month, a judge entered a not guilty plea for him.
And more than a week ago, Circuit Judge William Sylvester ruled that Holmes, 25, can be drugged and has to waive all medical confidentiality if he wants to plead guilty on reason of insanity, reported NBC News.
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