Uzbek nationals are most likely to develop extremist views while working as migrant workers abroad, U.S. commissioned research featured in the Department of State’s 2016 country report on terrorism warned.
“U.S.-commissioned research has shown that Uzbeks are most likely to radicalize while working as migrants abroad,” the report declared in the countering violent extremism section on Uzbekistan.
The report’s warning is particularly stark in the wake of a Tuesday terrorist attack on New York City pedestrians by Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, killing eight civilians and wounding 12 others. Saipov entered the U.S. on a diversity visa in 2010 and is a legal permanent resident.
He left notes in the truck he used to plow through pedestrians that declared his allegiance for the Islamic State and has reportedly told investigators he is “proud” of his work, wishing only he had run over more people.
Saipov did not appear to hold extremist views when he entered the U.S. in 2010, according to his former friend’s comments to The New York Times.
“He liked the U.S. He seemed very lucky, and all the time he was happy and talking like everything is O.K. He did not seem like a terrorist, but I did not know him from the inside,” the friend said, adding, “he was a very good person when I knew him.”
Saipov’s past, however, indicates he had many red flags in his past. He was questioned by federal authorities in 2015 after being listed as a point of contact by two men on a terror watchlist, but was never the subject of a counter-terrorism investigation himself. The terrorist also reportedly berated cashiers at his local supermarket and discriminated his hatred towards them based on whether they were wearing a hijab or not — a classic sign of radicalization.
The same friend who spoke to TheNYT previously told The New York Post he refused to take a photo with his young son in June, a practice common among extremely devout Muslims.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 1, 2017
Police booking photos of Saipov from 2013 also show a long beard, also common among devout Muslims.
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