Last Saturday, according to ABC News, 20-year-old Roanoke resident Wasil Farooqui allegedly stabbed a man and a woman at a local apartment complex, in an attempt to behead them both. Sources told ABC that Farooqui yelled “Allah Akbar” as he assaulted both victims.
Farooqui had been on federal authorities radar for some time, sources told ABC. The alleged attacker reportedly went to Turkey this past year and may have tried to go into Syria, where ISIS is recruiting jihadists from all over the world.
Farooqui’s citizenship status is currently unknown.
Following resistance and later an apology from the mayor of Roanoke, David Bowers, last November, the small city (pop. 100,00) was forced to accept 21 Syrian refugees brought in by the federal government. (RELATED: Virginia’s Syrian Refugees Resettled In Poor Communities Hours Away From Wealthy DC Suburbs)
As noted by TheDC, Roanoke has a high poverty rate of 21.9 percent, double the national average.
Although places like Roanoke have a small population, limited resources and poorer residents than the wealthier suburbs near the D.C. Beltway, the federal government mandated that Roanoke resettle twice as many Syrian refugees as the state’s three wealthiest counties combined.
Roanoke faced problems with refugees in the past when a Rwandan refugee, Joshua Kasongo, was sentenced to five and a half years in a federal prison for conspiring to commit kidnapping in 2009. He was among four teenagers convicted of attempting to abduct Roanoke-area women and hold them for ransom.
“Everybody’s heart was broken in that case,” recalled Kasongo’s attorney, Brad Braford, to The Roanoke Times in 2011. Braford claimed Joshua Kasongo’s involvement in the crime “so inconsistent” with the ethics of the family, whom he called “the epitome of the American dream.”
“He had all the potential in the world and made a tragic mistake,” Braford said.