SAN FRANCISCO – Just what brought about the first meeting and match of Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malik is one of the unknowns about the married couple suspected in the San Bernardino shootings.
Farook was raised in Southern California by parents who were born in Pakistan. Last year, he went to Saudi Arabia and returned with Malik, who had a fiancée visa.
A profile on one of the many matchmaking websites much used by South Asians at home and abroad shows Farook’s family long ago reached beyond U.S. borders to seek a bride for their American-born son.
Here’s what the website, iMilap.com, appears to show about the young Farook and his outlook:
WHAT IS THE website AND WHY WOULD FAROOK’S FAMILY HAVE BEEN USING IT?
Marriages partly or entirely brokered by parents and other family members remain the norm for many traditional South Asian families at home and abroad, who view leaving matrimony to chance as asking for trouble.
For millions of South Asians and others, matrimonial websites have replaced traditional local matchmakers, allowing families and their sons and daughters to enter their details and wants, and find suitable matches from around the world.
Academics say 90 per cent of those on some such South Asian websites are parents seeking eligible matches for children, and the entry matching Farook’s profile says his parents posted it.
iMilap.com says it is geared toward the disabled and people who were previously married. However, Farook’s profile says he had never been wed and had no disabilities. The site also has sections for dating and marriage separated by region — India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia among the countries listed — and religion.
HOW CLEAR IS IT THAT THE PROFILE ENTRY IS FOR FAROOK?
A small, blurry photo posted on the matchmaking website resembles the photos released of him.
Other details on the site also match Farook: the profile name; the hometown of Riverside, California; the Muslim religion; and the job — “I work for county as health, safety and envorimental (sic) inspector.”
Farook was 28, while the website lists his age as 22, suggesting his family began searching for a spouse years ago. He and Malik died in a confrontation with police hours after Wednesday’s mass shooting.
WHAT DOES THE PROFILE APPEAR TO TELL US ABOUT FAROOK?
Written in the first person, the profile says one of Farook’s favourite things to do is “just hang out in back yard doing target pratice (sic) with younger sister and friends.”
Other listed enjoyments: working on modern and vintage cars, reading religious books, eating out and travelling.
HOW ABOUT HIS VIEW OF THE WORLD — ANY INSIGHTS?
Farook, and his family, describe a young man fresh out of college with one foot in the West and the other in South Asian culture.
The profile describes him as coming from a “religios (sic) but modern” family, and the family’s values as an “Eastern and Western mix.”
Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak in Philadelphia contributed to this report.