There was almost certainly little or no attempt to determine whether or not Hamdan had any jihadist links or sympathies. Any such attempt, had it even been possible in any genuinely effective way, would have been “Islamophobic.”
“He wore western clothes”: the Islamic State tells Muslims in the West to cultivate a Western, secular persona, so as to avoid attracting the attention of authorities.
FORT ST. JOHN — When terror suspect Othman Hamdan moved in next door to Owen Higdon three years ago, he asked if he could pay his neighbour $20 a month to tap into his wireless connection.
“I’m glad I didn’t take him up on that,” Higdon said Sunday, standing outside the apartment building where Hamdan was arrested Friday with police alleging he advocated murder online on behalf of the Islamic State.
Higdon said there was nothing about Hamdan that would have made him think the 33-year-old was an ISIS supporter. He wore western clothes. His English was “pretty good.” He had a house-building company and even offered Higdon electrical work, which he declined….
Hamdan is scheduled to appear in court here Monday on six counts of counselling acts of violence on behalf of a terrorist organization.
The Vancouver Sun has learned that Hamdan allegedly made the threatening comments on at least two pro-ISIS Facebook pages called The Defeat of the Alliance and The Alliance Defeat. Both have since been removed by Facebook administrators.
The Sun has also learned that Hamdan came to Canada via the U.S. in 2002 and was accepted as a refugee claimant. He’s originally from Jordan and claimed he would be persecuted if he went back there. He’s not a Canadian citizen.
He has lived in the Peace River area for at least three years as he registered his house-building company, Noex Contracting, in April 2012. The company’s address on corporate records is the same suite on 86th Street that was raided by police Friday.
Higdon said Hamdan was screaming and yelling as police took him into custody. He claimed that police were picking on him because of his ethnicity, Higdon said.
Local Muslim leaders said they didn’t know Hamdam and never saw him at their Friday prayers.
Of course. Jihadis in Western countries are never, ever known to the local mosque. Except when they are.
They were called to a meeting with the RCMP Friday and told about the investigation.
“Once we learned about it — it was like a shock to us,” said Azhar Phoolwala, of the Peace River Muslim Association. “We didn’t know how to react to it. Of course the obvious questions were: Do you know him and has he been a part of the community? We said we have never heard of him.”
Phoolwala, a banker originally from Mumbai, said there are close to 100 Muslims in Fort St. John who’ve come from all over the world to work here.
They are a close-knit, well-integrated community that is a world away from ISIS-inspired violence and ideology.
“It is a story that’s really upsetting and, as a community, I would say that we strongly condemn his actions,” he said.
Taher Morsi, who works for the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, said police knew Hamdan had nothing to do with the local Muslim community and have made that clear.
He doesn’t expect any backlash against Muslims living in the area.
Phoolwala said the Muslim community is grateful that both police and Mayor Lori Ackerman have publicly stated that Hamdan was isolated with no local contacts or support.
The police, Morsi said, told the Muslin leaders: “They said this is not against your community. This is nothing against Muslims here. It is just against an individual person.”
Hamdan remains in the local RCMP detachment lock-up and requested a Qur’an in his cell, which was brought to him Sunday….
He wanted to commit mass murder because of what he read in the Qur’an. Would an imprisoned National Socialist be brought a copy of Mein Kampf?