NYC Terrorist ‘Had A Character Problem,’ Head Of His Former Mosque Reveals

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The terrorist who murdered eight people in New York City caused concerns a few years ago, the leader of a mosque he previously attended revealed.

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a green card holder and diversity lottery visa winner from Uzbekistan, rammed pedestrians with a van Tuesday afternoon before crashing into a school bus, at which point he exited the vehicle brandishing imitation firearms and shouting “Allahu Akbar.” He was neutralized and apprehended by authorities, who discovered notes in Arabic at the scene and materials on his computer suggesting loyalty to the Islamic State.

A deeper investigation revealed that some of the individuals close to the attacker was traveling down a path to extremism, The New York Times reported Wednesday. His former imam at a mosque in Tampa, Fla., claims he made numerous efforts to convince him to change course.

“I used to tell him, ‘Hey, you are too much emotional … Read books more. Learn your religion first.” the Muslim spiritual leader told TheNYT. “He did not learn religion properly. That’s the main disease in the Muslim community.”

The head of the local mosque revealed that Saipov was prone to sudden outbursts of anger, explaining that the young man “had a character problem.” While the imam attempted to put him on a different path, he was ultimately unsuccessful, as Saipov’s “character problem” resulted in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11.

Saipov first drew the attention of federal authorities a few years ago when investigators began looking into his connections to another individual from Uzbekistan who was under investigation by terrorist investigators in New York.

He was not, ABC News reports, the primary subject of any official counterterrorism probe.

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