As details appears that the Nice mass murderer emerge it appears that he was not even a moderate Muslim let alone radical, but despite no evidence of any connection ISIS claim he was acting for them.
And the French defence minister blames ISIS regardless of whether there was any actual links or not.
Some accounts of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel conflict and some are vague and unsubstantiated, which will provide enough ammunition for people with a variety of views to claim what happened in Nice fits their opinion on who and what was to blame.
From New York Times: France Blames ISIS for Inspiring Terrorist Attack in Nice
The Islamic State had kept silent on the Nice attack until Saturday morning, when it declared, in a bulletin issued in Arabic and in English on its Amaq News Agency channel: “Executor of the deadly operation in Nice, France, was a soldier of the Islamic State. He executed the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations, which fight the Islamic State.”
The claim must be greeted with caution, because there was yet no evidence suggesting that the driver was radicalized, or had even been exposed to the Islamic State’s propaganda.
ISIS are using it for their propaganda whether there was any actual connection between them and the killer or not. We may or may not ever find out whether ISIS involvement was actual before the attack or opportunist after it.
In 2014, the Islamic State’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, called on the group’s followers to attack Westerners in retaliation for strikes by the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He has repeatedly singled out France, which is part of the coalition, as a main enemy.
However, no evidence has emerged that Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel got training or orders from the Islamic State. The Islamic State has blurred the line between operations planned and carried out by its core fighters and those carried out by sympathizers inspired, only at a distance, to commit violence.
The defence defence minister blames ISIS anyway.
But on Saturday, France’s defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said: “I remind you that Daesh’s ideologue, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, has for several weeks repeated calls to attack directly, even individually, Frenchmen, in particular, or Americans, wherever they are, by any means necessary,” using an Arabic name for the Islamic State.
“It is murder, and Daesh’s claim of responsibility comes later, as has happened in other recent events,” Mr. Le Drian added. “Even if Daesh doesn’t do the organizing, Daesh inspires this terrorist spirit, against which we are fighting.”
Obviously ISIS/Daesh may influence and ‘inspire’ nutters to do terrible things. It’s just as feasible that inspiration and encouragement came from social media or was simply a copycat type of attack with ISIS being an excuse.
Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a native of Tunisia, had a history of petty crime going back to 2010. He received a six-month suspended sentence this year for assaulting a motorist, but was not on the radar of French intelligence agencies. Indeed, he seemed more like a surly misfit — he beat his wife, until she threw him out — than a prospective terrorist.
The country’s top law enforcement official, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, said Saturday: “The individual who committed this absolutely despicable, unspeakable crime was not known by the intelligence services, as he had not stood out over the past years — whether through court convictions or through his activity — for support of radical Islamist ideology.”
But Mr. Cazeneuve added: “It seems that he radicalized himself very quickly. In any case, these are the first elements that have come to light through the testimony of his acquaintances.”
It seems that Bouhlel was nothing like a model Muslim of any type, not moderate and certainly not radical. More of a petty criminal with a history of violence.
In Msaken, Tunisia, the attacker’s father, Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej Bouhlel, told Agence France-Presse on Friday night that his son had depression, but that he “had almost no links to religion,” and that “he didn’t pray, he didn’t fast, he drank alcohol, and even used drugs.
The elder Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel said of his son, “From 2002 to 2004, he had problems that caused a nervous breakdown.”
“He would become angry, and he shouted,” he said, adding, “He would break anything he saw in front of him.”
However, The Huffington Post quoted Rabab Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a sister of the attacker, as saying the brother “did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but he also did not pray and never entered a mosque in his life.” She added: “He was just not stable psychologically and mentally. His wife and her mother both complained about his violent behavior toward her.”
Regardless of the conflicting claims about some of his habits it sounds like his religious practice, or lack of, is such that ISIS might execute him for it.
ISIS propagandists will know that ‘ISIS attack’ will get headlines and the contradictions won’t be noticed by most people.