San Bernardino Victims Included Messianic Jew and a Christian Who Fled Iran to Escape Persecution

It appears at least one of the massacre victims was a believer.

7367103_1449177568.3175

Benneta Betbadal (center)

Benneta Betbadal, 46: She was born in Iran in 1969 and came to the United States at age 18 to escape the persecution of Christians after the Iranian Revolution, according to a family statement on a fundraising account set up in her name.

Most of the 14 people killed at a holiday banquet in San Bernardino County, California, worked in the same county public health department as the man who showed up with his wife and sprayed the hall with gunfire.

An official list of the dead was released Thursday, and families, friends and co-workers came forward to share some of their stories: READ MORE

Benneta Betbadal with her family (Screen capture/gofundme)

Most of the 14 people killed at a holiday banquet in San Bernardino County, California, worked in the same county public health department as the man who showed up with his wife and sprayed the hall with gunfire.

An official list of the dead was released Thursday, and families, friends and co-workers came forward to share some of their stories:

NICHOLAS THALASINOS, 52

He identified as a Messianic Jew and passionately defended Israel, actively debating about religion in online forums and in person, his friends said.

Only two weeks ago, Thalasinos, of Colton, was having a heated on-the-job discussion about the nature of Islam with Syed Rizwan Farook, his fellow restaurant inspector and one of the shooters.

Thalasinos’ friend, Kuuleme Stephens, told The Associated Press that she happened to call him while he was working with Farook and that he brought her into their debate, loudly declaring that Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.”

She heard Farook counter that Americans don’t understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying, “I don’t know how to talk with him,” she said.

Thalasinos’ wife, Jennifer, told the AP the two “probably did have debates” but “I never got the impression it was in a bad way.”

“It was more, you know, just having discussions about religion and faith,” she said.

She said she believes her husband died a martyr because of his faith but he never indicated that Syed had radicalized. She said she did not believe her husband was individually targeted.

“They all got along really well. So it’s shocking,” she said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s