Authorities are treating Thursday's beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center as an incident of workplace violence but that is prompting raised eyebrows among some terrorism experts.
The FBI is investigating the incident in which fired employee Alton Nolen, 30, allegedly attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. Nolen also stabbed another women at the plant. The company’s COO, a reserve sheriff’s deputy, thwarted the second attack, shooting Nolen, who is in stable condition.
Co-workers reportedly said Nolen tried to convert them to Islam after his own recent conversion.
And Fox 25 in Oklahoma City reports that the FBI is looking into Nolen's Facebook page. The page has anti-American rants under the name "Jah'Keem Israel."
The station said the Facebook page has several photos of Usama bin Laden and a screen shot from the 9/11 terror attacks. It also shows a man with a quote: "I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smile ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them."
Colin Clarke, a Rand Corp. terrorism expert, told Fox & Friends Saturday that the beheading was an act of terrorism and should be characterized as such.
"Calling it workplace violence is counterproductive," he said.
Chad Sweet, CEO of the Chertoff Group and a former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff and CIA official, also appeared on Saturday's Fox & Friends program. He said he expected the Obama administration to change its tune quickly and call it terrorism.
"You'll see this change very shortly," he said Saturday. "The only thing that is causing a pause I think is the fact that the triggering event was the termination of his employment."
The police department issued a statement saying, "After conducting interviews with Nolen's co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion. Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolan."
Nolen, according to state corrections records, was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013.
Danielle Katcher, spokesperson from Vaughan Food, added to the company’s statement saying: "Today, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary member of the Vaughan Foods family, and continue to support both the physical and emotional healing process of all those impacted by this week’s violence."
Saad Mohammad, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, told NewsOK.com that leaders of the society’s mosque are taking security precautions to protect Muslims who gather there from any potential retaliatory violence.
Mohammad said any anti-Muslim sentiments local residents might have could be heightened due to the beheadings and violence overseas by Islamic State militants.
"They have this ISIS thing on their minds and now this guy has brought it to America," Mohammad told the website.