Ottawa man urges attacks on Canadians in purported ISIS video
Published Sunday, December 7, 2014 3:20PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 7, 2014 11:44PM EST
A purported new Islamic State propaganda video features a Canadian man who threatens violence and “punishment” against Canadians on their own soil.
In the video, distributed by a U.S. company that monitors jihadist posts around the world, the young man says others should follow the example of Martin Couture-Rouleau, who ran down and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec on Oct. 20.
The man identifies himself as Abu Anwar al-Canadi, but his real name is John Maguire. He studied at the University of Ottawa before “falling off the map” about two years ago, according to one fellow student.
In the six-minute video, Maguire also references the attack on Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial, in which Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed.
Standing in the ruins of an unidentified town, Maguire rails against Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.
“It should not surprise you when operations by the Muslims are executed where it hurts you the most – on your very own soil,” he says in the video.
“Your people will be indiscriminately targeted, as you indiscriminately target our people.”
Looking into the camera, Maguire says: “I was one of you. I was a typical Canadian.”
He says he “grew up on the hockey rink,” had a high GPA in university, and had no criminal record. He said he converted to Islam and accepted “the true call of the prophets and the messengers of God.”
Addressing Muslims living in Canada, Maguire says they have two options: either pack up and join the Islamic State, or follow Couture-Rouleau’s example.
CTV News has not been able to independently verify the video. It’s not clear when it was recorded.
Maguire grew up in the small eastern Ontario town of Kemptville and graduated from Ottawa’s Hillcrest High School in 2008. He then studied at the University of Ottawa, where he was involved with the Muslim students association.
It’s not clear what happened to him after that.
“He kind of fell off the map,” Adam Gilani, the former president of the University of Ottawa Muslim Students Association, told CTV News Channel Sunday.
Gilani said he didn’t know Maguire very well, but spoke to him on several occasions on campus and at association events. He said Maguire seemed like a “typical” student and did not set off any red flags.
Gilani confirmed Maguire is the man in the purported ISIS video.
But, he said, “it’s definitely not the John Maguire that I used to see walking the halls of the University of Ottawa.”
In response to the video, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney issued a statement Sunday reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the anti-ISIS coalition.
“Terrorism remains a real and serious threat to Canadians, which is why we must remain vigilant,” Blaney said.
“That is why we are taking part in the coalition that is currently conducting air strikes against ISIL, and supporting the security forces in Iraq in their fight against this terrorist scourge.”
Security officials believe that more than 140 Canadians have left the country to fight overseas.
Previously posted ISIS propaganda videos have also called for violence against Canadians and other American allies.
Terrorism expert Michael Zekulin, a political science professor at the University of Calgary, says the latest video seems to be trying to “flip the narrative” of a troubled, young Canadian joining ISIS.
By explicitly stating that he was a good student with no criminal record, the man in the video is trying to make a point about what kind of Canadian could turn against his own country, Zekulin told CTV News Channel.