Slain Messianic Jew sparred with killer weeks before shooting

Ben Harris

Nicholas Thalasinos posing for a photograph with his wife, Jennifer Thalasinos. (Courtesy)

Nicholas Thalasinos posing for a photograph with his wife, Jennifer Thalasinos. (Courtesy)

(JTA) — Nicholas Thalasinos, the Messianic Jew killed in the shooting spree in San Bernadino, sparred with his alleged killer over Islam weeks before his death.

According to several news reports, Thalasinos got into an argument with Syed Rizwan Farook several weeks before his death.

The Associated Press, based on an account from a friend of Thalasinos who overheard the exchange, reported that Thalasinos said Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.” Farook responded that Americans don’t understand Islam, to which Thalasinos replied, “I don’t know how to talk with him.”

The New York Times reported that the friend, Kuuleme Stephens, could hear Farook saying that Israel was not the Jewish homeland and that Jews don’t belong there.

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Thalasinos was one of 14 people killed in San Bernadino, California on Wednesday in a shooting rampage police believe was carried out by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

According to Thalasinos’ wife, the couple were Messianic Jews, a faith that combines elements of Judaism with a belief that Jesus is the messiah. Thasalinos reportedly wore tzitzit fringes and is pictured in a photo widely circulated since his death showing him wrapped in a Jewish prayer shawl.

Thalasinos’ Facebook page is also filled with postings supportive of Israel and highly critical of Islam and President Obama.

On the evening of December 1, Thalasinos posted a message he received from “the ANTISEMITIC BRAIN SURGEON Med Ali Zarouk” threatening him with death and railing against Israel.

“Anyway my new hobby appears to be BLOCKING PAGAN ANTISEMITIC TROGLODYTES so I’m just passing this along to warn others,” Thalasinos wrote in reply.

Earlier that day he posted an article about an Arab anchorwoman who referred to an assailant who stabbed an Israeli soldier as “my hero.”

“Another of Obamas long-lost kids,” Thalasinos wrote. “ALL ANTISEMITES are of THE SAME SPIRIT.”

In other Facebook posts, Thalasinos expressed doubt about climate change, railed against Obama for making a nuclear deal with Iran, and shared several posts from Jewish groups, including the World Zionist Organization.

On the day following Black Friday, Thalasinos posted a photo of shoppers lining up outside a Best Buy store with the caption: “Although it SHOULD be SHABBAT – at least Sunday people actually WORSHIP!”

On November 25, Thalasinos wrote: “By signing this treaty with IRAN, Barack Obama proved he cares for the Jews as much as Hitler did.”

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