He thought that joining a jihad terror group was “the ultimate sacrifice you can make for your religion.” Mohamed Hersi grew up in Toronto. Where did he get the idea that his religion obligated him to engage in terrorist violence? We’re constantly told that all Muslims in the West reject the idea that Islam and jihad have anything to do with terrorism. So how did Hersi become a misunderstander of Islam? How did he become “radicalized”? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? Or would asking such questions be “Islamophobic”?
“Toronto man told undercover officer it was ‘God’s Will’ for him join terror-group Al-Shabab, trial hears,” by Stewart Bell for the National Post, March 25 (thanks to Michael):
BRAMPTON, Ont.—A Toronto security guard on trial for allegedly attempting to join the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab said he believed it was his religious duty to do so, an undercover police officer testified on Tuesday.
“It’s the ultimate sacrifice you can make for your religion,” Mohamed Hassan Hersi said, according to the testimony of the officer, whose identity cannot be disclosed to due a publication ban. “Basically it’s God’s will.”
Three years after Mr. Hersi was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport as he was about to board flights to London and Cairo, his trial is now underway and jurors are hearing from the undercover officer who befriended the Somali-Canadian.
The trial comes amid concern over the radicalization of Canadians — dozens of whom have joined Islamist terror groups in the Middle East and Africa. Al-Shabab was behind last year’s massacre at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that left two Canadians dead.
A 28-year-old Canadian who grew up in Toronto, Mr. Hersi came to the attention of police in September 2010 when an employee of a Toronto dry cleaning business found a USB device in a bag of clothes, according to a statement of “agreed facts” released by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
The dry cleaner turned the jump drive over to Toronto police, which found it contained a copy of The Anarchist’s Cookbook, a Canadian Forces Department of National Defense Operational Manual and reports from Intercon Security, where Mr. Hersi worked.
In the months that followed, police planted an undercover officer close to Mr. Hersi. The officer testified that at a meeting in January in the Scarborough Town Centre parking lot, he asked Mr. Hersi how he knew he wanted to join Al-Shabab.
“He believed it was the duty of every Muslim,” the officer said. When the officer, who was pretending he also wanted to join Al-Shabab, confided he was having doubts, Mr. Hersi said that was the devil talking. “He puts these voices in your head,” Mr. Hersi allegedly said.
By late January, police had obtained permission to record Mr. Hersi’s conversations. Nowhere in the tapes played Tuesday did Mr. Hersi say clearly that he intended to join Al-Shabab, although he appeared to give the officer advice about Al-Shabab and traveling to Somalia. “Don’t be scared,” Mr. Hersi said.
But Mr. Hersi did speak repeatedly about wanting to leave Canada, which he said was “like a police state,” and mentioned his plans to go to Egypt and, from there, to possibly make his way to Somalia, where Al-Shabab was battling pro-government forces in an attempt to impose its severe version of Islamic law.
“Here everything is anti-prayer, anti-Islam … even if it’s a tyrannical place, it’s better than Canada,” he said. “I want to live in a place that’s better than this.” Somalia was better than Canada, he said, “because you can live in a place where there’s Islamic law.”
In his rambling conversations, he decried what he considered Canada’s hostility to his faith, claiming that “all non-Muslims hate Islam.” But he appeared to display intolerance himself, saying that “talking to a non-Muslim about morality and shit, they don’t even know what morality is, Christians.”
He also complained that “brothers” at Toronto’s Salahedin mosque had been arrested on security certificates (used to deport foreign nationals deemed threats to Canada’s security), and said nobody cared because only Muslims were affected. Asked how he knew, he said, “My imam talks about it.”
“It’s pretty tyrannical,” he said.
He claimed to know the son of one of the terror suspects arrested on a security certificate, and complained police were entering peoples’ homes and planting listening devices and cameras. “The government is very evil, what they’re doing to average Muslims.”
In anticipation of leaving Canada, Mr. Hersi was working as many shifts as he could to earn money and had joined a Goodlife fitness club, the undercover officer testified. “He explained he wanted to get fitter before he went away,” he said.
When he was arrested at the airport, Mr. Hersi was carrying his Canadian passport, US$6,000, 1,100 Euros, and what was described as a “black spy pen.” On his laptop, police found the “Anarchy Cookbook” and the “U.S. Navy SEAL sniper training syllabus.”