A day after Alton Nolen, also known as Jah’Keem Yisrael, beheaded a co-worker and attempted to behead a second co-worker at Vaughan Foods in Moore, another Oklahoma man was arrested for making a terrorist threat when he told a co-worker he was going to cut off her head. The threat was made before the deadly rampage in Moore, but the arrest came the day law officers publicized the details of the brutal attack.
On Friday, Jacob Magambi Muriithi, 30, was arrested following a threat made against a co-worker at an Oklahoma City nursing home earlier this month.
The woman says that on September 19, she and Muriithi, a native of Kenya, were working together at the nursing home, when Muriithi told her that he was a Muslim who “represented ISIS.” He told her that ISIS “killed Christians,” and when she asked why, he responded, “This is just what we do.”
According to the woman’s report, her co-worker asked her what time she got off work, and she jokingly asked if he was going to kill her. She says the man said that he was going to cut off her head with a “blade” and post images of the killing to Facebook, repeating the threat again as she left work that day.
The woman told authorities that Muriithi seemed to be serious and never said or acted like he was joking.
Muriithi is held in the Oklahoma County Jail on $1 million bond on a complaint of threatening to perform an act of violence. He is held without bond on an act of terrorism complaint.
Law enforcement officials say that there is nothing to indicate the threat earlier this month is connected with the beheading in Moore.
However, the two incidents raise questions about the true motives behind such acts of violence. Although the suspect in each case identified with militant Muslims, there is no indication that their acts meet the state’s definition of terrorism:
“Terrorism” means an act of violence resulting in damage to property or personal injury perpetrated to coerce a civilian population or government into granting illegal political or economic demands; or conduct intended to incite violence in order to create apprehension of bodily injury or damage to property in order to coerce a civilian population or government into granting illegal political or economic demands (21 O.S. § 1268.2).
Some investigators are saying that Nolen’s act is a brutal form of workplace violence, but is not an act of terrorism. An Oklahoma House Counterterrorism Caucus disagrees, saying, “Unfortunately, jihadism is no longer confined to foreign soil. We must be alert to it here and take steps to counter the doctrine, institutions and organizations that foster it.”
Again, let’s look at the motive. Were the attacks in Moore perpetrated to further the cause of Islamic extremism? Or were the attacks acts of vengeance against a woman who complained about a co-worker who complained against him and the employer who disciplined him?
ISIS beheadings–as well as beheadings in Mexico and among other militant groups–have captured headlines. It is possible that what we have here are men who use or threaten the violence they see on television, much in the same way that disenfranchised students who threaten school violence are often found to watch news footage and documentaries about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two teens who perpetrated mass murder and violence at Columbine High School.
Copycat violence may occur after the Oklahoma beheading. It is important, however, that the general public remains calm and does not let these random acts incite fear and retaliatory violence against any ethnic or religious group. Islamic extremists do not represent true Muslims any more than Westboro Baptist Church represents true Christians.