Munich – another day, another “Allah Akbar” (UPDATED)


24 August, 8:30am: Just a “normal” crazed gunman, without ideology?

But just in case, BBC drops the killer’s name “Ali” and just refers to him as “David Sonboly”.

12:08pm: “Witnesses say that the gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting at children.”

ISIS or no ISIS, this only adds to the increasingly popular narrative in Europe that “Muslims = trouble”.

12:07pm: Did he lure his victims? “And at a press conference at 2.30am local time today, Munich Police President Hubertus Andrae confirmed the force were probing a Facebook page which was offering free food at the McDonald’s at the same time the gunman began his shooting spree.”

11:34am: an 18-year old German Iranian has gunned down ten people around McDonalds at Olympia shopping centre in Munich. Another 21 people are injured. Many of the victims appear to be children. The gunman (he was using a handgun) seems to have turned the gun on himself about a kilometre away from the scene of the massacre.

It’s very early, but this attack appears to be different from other recent “standard” terrorist attacks:

1)The gunman is an Iranian. Iranians, who are predominantly Shia, generally don’t engage in attacks against Western targets. Certainly they are not associated with ISIS, which considers them to be heretics and enemies (the Lindt Chocolate Cafe terrorist, Man Haron Monis, is one of the few exceptions, but he converted to Sunni Islam shortly before the attack).

2) Islamic terrorists like to die in shoot-outs with security forces or self-detonating. Committing suicide away from the murder scene is an unusual modus operandi.

3) There is a fascinating exchange a local resident, standing on a nearby balcony, engaged in with the shooter moments before the attack:

Balcony man: ‘You fucking a*****e you…’

Gunman: ‘Because of you I was bullied for 7 years…’

Balcony man: ‘You w****r you. you’re a w****r’

Gunman: ‘…and now I have to buy a gun to shoot you’

Balcony man: ‘A gun! F**k off! Your head should be cut off you a*****e’

Balcony man apparently to people filming: ‘He’s got a gun here the guy has one’

Unseen voice: ‘F*****g Turks!’

Balcony man: ‘F*****g foreigner’

Balcony man to someone else: ‘Ey! He’s got a gun! He has loaded his gun. Get the cops here. He’s walking around here the w****r!’

Gunman: ‘I am German.’

Balcony man: ‘You’re a w****r is what you are’

Gunman: ‘Stop filming!’

Balcony man: ‘A w****r is what you are. What the f**k are you doing?’

Shooter: ‘Yeah what, I was born here.’

Balcony man: ‘Yeah and what the f**k you think you’re doing?’

Gunman: ‘I grew up here in the Hartz 4 (unemployment benefits in Germany) area.’

Balcony man and Shooter talk at same time.

Balcony man: ‘Yeah treatment is something for you’

Gunman: ‘I haven’t done anything here for (unintelligible) … ‘Please shut your mouth’

Balcony man: ‘You c**t you’

Balcony man to people nearby: ‘Hey, he’s on the upper floor here.’

The cameraman goes into cover as the gunman starts firing. Balcony man calls him a c***t again.

Balcony man: ‘They must have been s******g into your head’

Gunman: ‘They have not. They have not, that’s the thing. They have not.’

One possible reading: the shooter felt himself a victim of years of prejudice and Islamophobia and finally snapped and reacted – tragically by becoming exactly what some people stereotype Muslims as – a terrorist.

The first confused reports from the scene suggested not only multiple gunmen but also that they might have been neo-Nazis, but it seems now that someone assumed “F***ing Turks!” heard on the tape was shouted by one of the perpetrators, as opposed to a witness.