Nasim Aghdam, the Iranian-born suspected YouTube headquarters mass shooter, wrote extensively about the Baha’i religion. Although it’s not clear what motivated Aghdam in the mass shooting – and authorities have not alleged that her religion was in any way a factor – her writings on the topic do help fill out the biography of the suspect.
One lengthy blog post by Aghdam at the Interfaith Vegan Alliance website was titled “Meeting the Bahai.” The blog post’s author bio refers to Nasim by her YouTube pseudonym of Nasime Sabz. It says “Nasime Sabz is a Bahai activist who has written extensively about her findings, her experience, veganism, and human-animal liberation. Nasime is mainly active on YouTube but has previously had her own TV Show on Persian Satellite (the first of its kind in Persia). However due to financial constraints Nasime is no longest on mainstream TV, but no doubt, she’ll be back. Nasime’s approach is aimed at ‘inciting’ kindness to all living beings.”
The bio mentions that Aghdam has posted about recipes, posted prolific videos on YouTube and Google Plus, had a Facebook page and had her own website. Many of these pages have now been deleted. The bio concludes “Another Bahai leading the way.” She also mentioned the Baha’i religion in video posts. Most of the videos did not appear to have a political or religious overlay, though. Rather, they are somewhat bizarre videos about cooking, exercise, being a vegan, and even include a Taylor Swift parody. One video highlighted her anger toward YouTube, which she accused of discrimination for filtering her content.
Although local news reports in California initially said it was possible the mass shooting – which wounded three people – might have been domestic violence-related, authorities now say otherwise. In fact, Aghdam’s father, Ismail Aghdam, told The San Jose Mercury News that his daughter was angry at YouTube because the company stopped paying her for advertising due to her YouTube videos on the platform. Authorities revealed in a press release that Nasim Najafi Aghdam was the shooter and wrote, “The San Bruno Police Department is investigating a motive for this shooting. At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted. Anyone with any information related to this crime is urged to contact the San Bruno Police Department at (650) 616-7100 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can be left anonymously.”
According to the Mercury News, the father says he warned police that his daughter had gone missing and was angry at YouTube but they called and said they found her sleeping in her car. She had recorded a video ranting that YouTube was discriminating against her. However, she did write about religion in the context of the Baha’i.
The blog post starts, “At the turn of 2014, one of our campaigns led us to the Baha’i. Thanks to Supreme Master Ching Hai et al, we were already aware of some Baha’i texts containing guidance on diet and abstinence from animal flesh. Therefore, was very keen to meet people from the Baha’i community and learn more. Not long after, we were invited to attend a local Baha’i meeting on the 8th of January 2015 at Leeds Quaker house.” You can read more of the post here.
She also wrote, “It is now down to the universal house of justice to take affirmative action, to ensure that the growth of Bahai principles increases it must pay special tribute to Abdul’s prophecy, about the ‘pity’ and ‘compassion’ that he observes in his verses animals/vegetarianism.”
She also vlogged about Iran. “When it comes to freedom of speech do you think Iran is better than the USA or the USA is better than Iran?” Aghdam said in an Instagram video posted on March 25. In the video, Aghdam was wearing a hijab. However, she wore non-religious dress in many of her videos and photos, in which she called herself a Persian vegan bodybuilder.
“Be aware! Dictatorship exists in all countries but with different tactics! They only care for personal short term profits & do anything to reach their goals even by fooling simple-minded people, hiding the truth, manipulating science & everything, putting public mental & physical health at risk, abusing non-human animals, polluting environment, destroying family values, promoting materialism & sexual degeneration in the name of freedom,….. & turning people into programmed robots! ‘Make the lie big, Make it simple, Keep saying it, And eventually they will believe it’ Adolf Hitler,” she wrote on her website. Farsi, which she often used in her videos, is the official language of Iran.
What is the Baha’i religion? A website devoted to the faith says, “Throughout history, God has sent to humanity a series of divine Educators—known as Manifestations of God—whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization. These Manifestations have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.”
The beliefs discuss unity. “Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh,” the website says.
The website Baha’i Teachings says that many people falsely believe that Baha’i adherents are Muslim. “Some still erroneously believe that the Baha’i Faith is a sect or an ‘offshoot’ of Islam. Since 19th Century Persia (now Iran) served as the cradle of the Baha’i Faith in its earliest days, that impression continues even among a few otherwise educated people. Despite all the legitimate and accurate information about the Baha’i Faith now available online, some websites still cling to that old misinformation,” it says.