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Did an a Muslim commit "honor murders" of his wife and two daughters in Arizona and then claim that "Allah told him to do it?" No, that's not true: A murder suspect in Phoenix did tell police God told him to kill his wife and children because he suspected she was having an affair, but investigators confirmed to Lead Stories that the man was not Muslim and he did not blame Allah.
The story originated from an article (archived here) where it was published on April 30, 2019 under the title "Arizona: Muslim Honor Murders His Wife & 2 Daughters - Claims Allah Told Him To Do It." It opened:
"He said that the reason he shot these individuals is because in God's eyes, it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner who had been involved in adultery, extramarital affairs." Apparently, Smith was trying to cleanse his family's honor. And there will be much, much more of this in America: Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide.
This is what social media users see for one version of the fake story:
The story is based on a very real crime: The murders of a Phoenix, Arizona, woman and two young daughters on April 11, 2019. Dasia Patterson's husband, Austin Smith, was soon arrested for the killings. Here is how a local television station initially reported it:
Police say a 30-year-old Phoenix man has admitted killing his wife, two of his young daughters, and another man, all because he believed his wife was having an affair. Police say he also shot and injured two other people.
The same report gave details from the police report, in which the suspected killer explained his murderous motives:
Smith later told police he confronted his wife after she arrived home from a local bar. According to the police report, she denied the affair, but Smith shot her anyway "because he believed God told him to do so."
The police report states that Smith shot his 5-year-old daughter because she had "exhibited bad behavior he deemed against God's laws."
Police say Smith's 7-year-old daughter was crying over what happened, and Smith "believed you should not weep for the wicked, so he punched her in the face several times with a closed fist" and then eventually hit her in the head multiple times with a baseball bat.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson, the lead spokesman on this case, told Lead Stories that detectives did not say what religion Smith followed, but he was told it was not Islam. There is no mention in the police report of "Allah," only "God."
Local FOX reporter Danielle Miller posted a tweet on April 12, 2019 that a man who claimed to be Smith's cousin told her he was Muslim, but she did not report it on air. Miller told Lead Stories that the man refused to give his name, but she did tell police about his comment. This was not reported publicly and the source is unconfirmed.
None of the other reporting includes any details suggesting that Smith is Muslim. If he is a Christian, Smith had his Old Testiment teaching backward. Rev. Michael Reeves, with Georgia's Open Range Cowboy Church Ministries and a longtime Bible scholar told Lead Stories that "We are told in scriptures to weep for the wicked." Rev. Reeves referenced Jeremiah 9:1, in which Jeremiah wept over the wicked in Jerusalem.
2019-05-01T17:10:26Z 2019-05-01T17:10:26ZOn May 1, 2019, Phoenix FOX reporter Danielle Miller told Lead Stories in an email that a man who claimed to be Smith's cousin told her the day Smith was arrested that he was Muslim. However, Miller said the man refused to give his name and she did not confirm he was related to the murder suspect. Miller did not include this claim in her reporting but she said she told police about the man's claim. The police spokesman told Lead Stories on April 30, 2019 that Smith was not Muslim.