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Imam: Texts With San Bernardino Shooter Eyed by FBI Were About Food

A San Bernardino mosque leader said investigators questioned him about texts he exchanged with Syed Farook, but they were only about food donations.

A leader of a San Bernardino mosque said investigators questioned him about a series of text messages he sent massacre gunman Syed Farook, but they were only about food donations for Islamic holy days.

Roshan Abbassi, assistant imam at Dar-Al-Uloom Al-Islamia, told NBC News that Farook had volunteered to bring chicken biryani to the masjid for the evening meal that marks the breaking of the daily fast during Ramadan.

Between June 12 and June 28, he and Farook exchanged 38 messages, he said, according to his phone records.

"He was bringing food, so I was coordinating with him," Abbassi said. "They were nothing more than about food."

The focus on the messages illustrates what officials have already said about their investigation — that they are casting a wide net to track down anyone Farook and his gun-toting wife, Tashfeen Malik, had contact with before Wednesday's rampage.

Related: Mosque Members Say Shooter Seemed 'Peaceful,' Devout

As NBC News reported on Friday, one of the people being looked at is a friend of Farook who bought two of the semiautomatic rifles that were used in the attack on county workers, which officials say may have been inspired by ISIS.

The man, whose name has not been released, legally bought one rifle in 2011 and the other in 2012, each time shortly after Farook had legally bought handguns that were also used in the carnage at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

Farook's family have said they had no inkling he was capable of the ambush that left 14 dead and 21 wounded before he and his wife were killed during a shootout with police.

And leaders of two mosques Farook attended in the last five years said he gave no hint of any extremist views and appeared to be a reserved, devout Muslim.

Abbassi told NBC News that as far as he can recall, Farook did not even attend the breaking of the fast with other mosque members — he just delivered the food.

Related: From Housewife to Killer: The Mystery of San Bernardino Shooter Tashfeen Malik

He said that on Wednesday night, investigators showed up at his house with guns drawn and searched him and the premises. They asked him if he knew Farook, and he initially said no, until he saw a photo and realized it was a man he knew as Rizwan, the suspect's middle name.

Image: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik
Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik

They then asked him about phone communications between June 16 and June 28, during Ramadan, he said. He said he only remembered one in particular.

"I asked him for the receipt. I wanted to know the price because the food was good," he said.

Abbassi and members of his mosque have said they deplore Farook's actions and were stunned that someone who seemed so ordinary could be a terrorist.

"He was living the American Dream," Abbassi said. "He had a really good job, really good pay. He had a wife. ... He had a warm house. He had a baby."