Iranian in US campus ‘car attack’

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An Iranian student has been charged with attempting to murder nine people with a car in the US to “avenge the deaths of Muslims“, he told police.

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, drove a rented Jeep into a crowd at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Friday, police said.

Mr Taheri-azar, a graduate of the university, then called police to surrender, officers said.

No-one was seriously hurt in the incident, which the FBI is probing.

Cartoons

Mr Taheri-azar has been charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause bodily injury.


Police said he drove the Jeep Cherokee into a pedestrian plaza close to two libraries and the student union block at the centre of the campus.

Derek Poarch, chief of the university’s police department, told the Associated Press news agency Mr Taheri-azar had said he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world”.

Mr Taheri-azar is being held in a prison in nearby Raleigh and will appear in court on Monday.

Mr Poarch said Mr Taheri-azar said he had told police they would find out more about his motives if they searched his home.

Mr Poarch said nothing dangerous had been found in the search but declined to give further details.

“There is no indication whatsoever that he acted in any way other than alone,” Mr Poarch said.

The AFP news agency says tensions at the university have been high since a campus newspaper printed one of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that have caused outrage in Muslim communities worldwide.

Muslim students staged a sit-in protest at the newspaper offices.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
BBC, UK
Mar. 5, 2006
news.bbc.co.uk

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