ISIS has released video of an Ottawa man calling on Muslims to launch indiscriminate attacks against Canadians. The man has been identified as a former University of Ottawa student who converted to Islam and became radicalized before leaving Canada last year.
While the man in the video calls himself Abu Anwar Al-Canadi, the National Post has identified him as 23-year-old John Maguire of Ottawa.
ISIS video: “I was one of you. I was a typical Canadian I grew up on the hockey rink.”
How does a man who claims to have been a strong student in university, a guitar player as a teenager and someone with no criminal record come to make a video calling for Muslims to attack his fellow Canadians?
ISIS video: “Oh people of Canada. You are said to be an educated people. So what is preventing you from being able to put two and two together.”
Lorne Dawson: “You have a small percentage of people in the Western work that are converting to Islam but a disproportionate number of them are showing up in various terrorist plots.”
Co-director of Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, Lorne Dawson says, on the whole, it almost always starts with severe adolescent identity struggles. It’s at 15, 16-years old that interest in Islam starts to emerge: “But at the core of it are moral issues. These are not the kinds of kids that are going to be criminals they would follow a different path. They are the kind of kids that really are looking for some way to do something they think is really virtuous.”
Dawson says once these young people seek the information out for themselves online — others can see who is downloading it: “It’s easy for them to soon find out that this is a young man in suburban Toronto and then they can start to make contact.”
Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney has said officials revoked Maguire’s passport, which means it will be seized if he tries to re-enter Canada.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay says potential terror threats against Canada are an ongoing concern, not just after the release of the video. But MacKay told reporters today that the Maguire is case disturbing and said it speaks to the need for vigilance.