Ft. Lauderdale airport shooter had converted to Islam before joining the Army

by WorldTribune Staff, January 11, 2017

The gunman who killed five people at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport had converted to Islam and created a “jihadist identity” for himself prior to joining the U.S. Army, according to public records.

Esteban Santiago took on the Islamic name Aashiq Hammad, downloaded terrorist propaganda and recorded Islamic religious music online, records show, according to a report by the gotnews.com investigative news site.

Esteban Santiago, aka Aashiq Hammad

The newly uncovered information linking the shooter to radical Islam flies in the face of the official story from authorities that he is a mentally ill Army veteran who became unhinged after a tour of duty in Iraq.

“This is pertinent information that the Obama administration apparently wants to keep quiet, bringing up memories of the Benghazi cover up, in which the president and his cohorts knowingly lied to conceal that Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. Special Mission in Libya,” Judicial Watch said on Jan. 10.

Besides taking on a Muslim name, he recorded three Islamic religious songs, including the Muslim declaration of faith (“there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”) known as the Shahada. He also posted a thread about downloading propaganda videos from Islamic terrorists on a weapons and explosives forum.

The investigative news site connected the dots between Santiago, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Hammad, an identity he created in 2007.

“Traditional mainstream media coverage promotes the government rhetoric that omits any ties to terrorism even though early on a photo surfaced of Santiago making an ISIL salute while wearing a keffiyeh, a Palestinian Arab scarf,” Judicial Watch noted.

In a letter to Ft. Lauderdale’s mayor and commissioners, a prominent businessman and longtime resident of the city slammed county and federal officials for covering up that “Aashiq Hammad, not Esteban Santiago, attacked our city and county.”

The businessman, respected Ft. Lauderdale real estate entrepreneur Jim Morlock, specifically names Broward County’s elected sheriff Scott Israel, Florida senator Bill Nelson, the first to identify Santiago as the shooter on national television, and congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ousted last summer as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair over a scandalous plot to damage Bernie Sanders during the primary.

“Since when does a U.S. Senator (Bill Nelson), not law enforcement, be the one to so quickly release this terrorist’s Hispanic name but nothing about his more relevant Islamic background?” the letter asks. “Obama must have told Sen. Nelson to keep this from looking like a Muslim terrorist attack during the last 12 days of his watch. Bad for his legacy.”

Morlock goes on to state that it’s “better to portray this atrocity as white Hispanic Alaskan mental Iraq war vet gun violence.”

Morlock’s letter goes on to reveal that Santiago lives within walking distance of the only mosque in Alaska, was radicalized before he entered the military and was knowingly allowed to serve despite his Islamic sympathies thanks to “Obama’s PC military.”

Judicial Watch said Morlock’s letter “poses interesting questions, including why this Muslim terrorist chose Ft. Lauderdale out of all the nation’s airports and who Santiago knows in Broward county, which has a large and growing Islamic community.”

In 2015, Judicial Watch obtained records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that show an Al Qaida terrorist who helped plan several U.S. attacks lived in Broward County and graduated from the local community college with a degree in computer engineering. His name is Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, but he also had a Hispanic identity, Javier Robles, and for years he appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list.

In 2012, Judicial Watch reported on a terrorist front group’s demands that Broward County public schools close twice a year to celebrate Islamic holy days, illustrating the influence that Muslims have in the region.