“Throughout Wednesday’s incident, the man on the phone stressed that his actions were not motivated by terrorism and he staunchly did not support it.”
Maybe not, but he’s a terrorist now, and shows by this incident that the RCMP was right to keep him under surveillance.
“‘I took a hostage. Listening to me?,’” by Wendy Gillis, Victoria Gibson, Ainslie Cruickshank, and Alex McKeen, Toronto Star, June 28, 2017 (thanks to S.):
It began with what seemed like any other tip called in to the Toronto Star’s 24-hour news desk.
But the man on the line — his voice steady, at times upset but never once raised — would soon reveal he had made a desperate move.
He was “at a breaking point.” He needed to be listened to. This is what it would take, he said.
Over the phone, a woman’s desperate screams could be heard — “I have family!” she cried.
It was clear this was unlike any other call into the newsroom.
What unfolded beginning around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday was a daylight hostage-taking in an Eglinton West massage parlour tucked into an industrial area strip mall. Heavily armed members of Toronto police’s Emergency Task Force soon descended on the area, patrolling the area with guns and taking position on top of nearby buildings, according to witnesses.
The more than hour-long negotiation — beginning first with a call to the Star, and ending with a Toronto police negotiator — would end shortly after noon with the safe rescue of a woman who was being held inside Studio 9 massage parlour, and the arrest of a burly man dressed all in black.
Michael Storms, 35, was charged Wednesday with forcible confinement and uttering threats.
The man on the phone had told the Star he had converted to Islam when he was 20, and also went by the name Muhammed Islam. The caller said his motivations for the kidnapping were related to years of being surveilled and monitored by the RCMP, and that he was desperate for it to stop.
The RCMP did not return a request for comment to the Star by press time.
In a 2014 article in the National Post, a Toronto man identified as Muhammed Islam was named as one of approximately 90 high-risk travellers whose passports were seized to prevent them from travelling to take part in extremist violence abroad.
In a YouTube video posted in 2014, a man called Michael Storms identifies himself as Muhammed Islam and says he had a difficult childhood, grew up with family that were “very bad people” — “that was a my upbringing, crime and violence, drugs.”
“I was never alone, but I felt lonely,” he says in the video.
Throughout Wednesday’s incident, the man on the phone stressed that his actions were not motivated by terrorism and he staunchly did not support it….