A Muslim convert who left Ottawa last year to join ISIS resurfaced in a propaganda video on Sunday to threaten Canadians they will be “indiscriminately targeted” in retaliation for joining the international military coalition fighting the terror group.
In a six-minute video, he said the October killings of two Canadian Forces members in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Ottawa by men who had adopted Islamist extremist beliefs were a “direct response” to Canada’s role in Iraq.
“The more bombs you drop on our people, the more Muslims will realize and understand that today, waging jihad against the West and its allies around the world is beyond a shadow of the doubt a religious obligation binding upon every Muslim,” he said.
While he identified himself as Abu Anwar al-Canadi, three former friends said they recognized him as John Maguire, a former University of Ottawa student who converted to Islam and became radicalized before vanishing last year.
His family told the National Post the RCMP had told his mother he was in Syria and had travelled there on a one-way ticket. Posting online under the name “Yahya” Maguire, he had called Canada “evil” and that he wanted “the opportunity for martyrdom.”
Originally from Kemptville, Ont., the 23-year-old is one of the dozens of Canadians believed to be fighting with extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. Since the attacks in Quebec and Ottawa, the government has proposed new legislation to better track them abroad.
The video, posted onto Twitter and jihadi Web forums, and distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, said Canada was “waging war” against Muslims. “So it should not surprise you when operations by the Muslims are executed where it hurts you the most – on your very own soil – in retaliation to your unprovoked acts of aggression towards our people,” Maguire said.
“You have absolutely no right to live in a state of safety and security when your country is carrying out atrocities on our people,” he added. “Your people will be indiscriminately targeted as you indiscriminately target our people.”
Like many jihadists, Mr. Maguire claimed he had been an ordinary Canadian until his religious awakening. “I was one of you. I was a typical Canadian. I grew up on the hockey rink and spent my teenage years on stage playing guitar,” he said.
“I had no criminal record. I was a bright student and maintained a strong GPA in university. So how could one of your people end up in my place? And why is it that your own people are the ones turning against you at home? The answer is that we have accepted the true call of the prophets and messengers of God.”
He told Canadians to convert to Islam.
Canada has sent six CF-18s to Kuwait to participate in air strikes against ISIS, which has been attempting to impose its backwards ideology on Syrians and Iraqis through a brutal campaign of ranging from mass executions, ethnic cleansing, forced conversions and enslaving members of minority faiths.