03/08/06 — A terrorist? This fellow meant to kill innocents

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A terrorist? This fellow meant to kill innocents

North Carolina is fortunate in that nine families did not have to attend funerals of their sons and daughters in recent days.

These were students at the University of North Carolina who were among those having lunch at the Pit, a favorite gathering place at UNC-CH.

During the noon hour last Friday, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, an Iranian-born Muslim, rented a Jeep Cherokee and went hurtling through the gathering of students. He later told police he fully intended to strike the students to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.”

Incredibly, no one was killed. But nine were hit.

Taheri-azar — a graduate student at UNC — later turned himself in to authorities. In doing so, was this an act of remorse for what he had done? Apparently not. Police said he told them he deliberately ran through the gathering of fellow students as an act of vengeance.

He has been charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, nine counts of first-degree assault with a deadly weapons with intent to kill, and other charges.

He is being held under $5.5 million bond.

Some students at Chapel Hill rallied recently and branded Taheri-azar a terrorist.

And understandably so.

Here was a man who deliberately went on a rampage to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world” with the intent of running over innocent fellow students.

This man should meet all reasonable criteria of a terrorist. And authorities need to look carefullyinto who his friends and associates have been at Chapel Hill. What might be their attitudes — and potential for violence — against fellow students in the name of “avenging the deaths of Muslims around the world”?

Published in Editorials on March 8, 2006 9:36 AM