“While at the scene, the accused stated: ‘Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people,’ Saunders said at a press conference Tuesday morning….’I want to be very, very careful, when it comes to the national security piece, that we don’t through that Islamophobia nonsense,’ Saunders said. ‘I don’t want this categorizing of a large group of people. That would be very unfair and very inaccurate.’” Very well. But is Saunders going to investigate why Ali said that Allah told him to kill people? Does Saunders have any interest in where Ali got that idea, and what might possibly be done to prevent other Muslims from getting the same idea? Or is he just sure that Ali is crazy and that it would be “Islamophobic” to think otherwise?
A Toronto man who attacked a Canadian military recruiting centre Monday said Allah told him to do it, according to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ayanle Hassan Ali, who was born in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 2011, was arrested Monday and charged with three counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Ali appeared briefly in bail court Tuesday afternoon. He wore a white, prison-issue jump suit and spoke only to say his own name.
His case was put over until Friday, when a full bail hearing will be held.
Ali has a neat black beard that stretches several inches off his chin and very short black hair. He kept his eyes down throughout the hearing and shuffled at times from foot to foot.
Outside the courthouse, his lawyer, David Burke, described Ali as very scared and unhappy.
“This is a very serious incident, nobody can deny that,” Burke said. “I seen it in the news myself before I even became involved. I knew it was a serious incident…. But I think at the end of the day it remains to be seen exactly what kind of person we’re dealing with.”
Burke wouldn’t say much about his client. He refused to say if he was employed or studying or who he lived with. He did say Ali “seems like an intelligent enough young man.”
Ali was briefly hospitalized after his arrest. But Burke said he has not yet asked for a mental health assessment.
“I probably know as much about the actual facts surrounding the case as you people do,” Burke said.
Police say Ali walked into a Canadian Forces office in north Toronto and attacked several soldiers inside with a large knife.
“While at the scene, the accused stated: “Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people,’” Saunders said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Ryan Kong and Jesus Castillo were taken to hospital, treated and released Monday.
“To date, there is nothing to indicate the accused is working with anyone or in concert with any organization,” Saunders said. “It will take some time to have a complete picture.”
According to police, Ali walked into the recruitment centre, on the ground floor of a large federal government building in the old suburb of North York, just before 3 p.m. Monday.
A master corporal was sitting inside, at a table near the entrance to the office. When the solider tried to engage Ali, Ali walked quickly around the table and attacked him, knocking him out of his chair.
The soldier managed to get back to his feet, only to be attacked again, this time with a knife. Ali allegedly slashed the man in the upper arm, then continued further into the recruitment centre. He tried to slash another soldier, but Tracy Ann Gerhardt escaped mostly unharmed.
While this was happening, military staff corralled a group of civilian applicants and got them to safety. A group of soldiers then subdued Ali and held him until police arrived.
The investigation has only just begun. But Saunders said there was nothing yet to indicate that Ali was working with any outside organization or individual.
“I want to be very, very careful, when it comes to the national security piece, that we don’t through that Islamophobia nonsense,” Saunders said. “I don’t want this categorizing of a large group of people. That would be very unfair and very inaccurate.”…