John Maguire, a Canadian fighting with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), called on his countrymen to attack Canadian targets in the name of jihad and told Canadian Muslims to abide by the law of Allah in a newly released video. However, radicalization experts disregarded the video as “silly” and argued that few Canadians were likely to be swayed by it.
“Oh people of Canada,” he says. “You are said to be an educated people. So what is preventing you from being able to put two and two together and understanding that operations such as that of brother Akmad Rouleau of Montreal and the storming of Parliament Hill in Ottawa are carried out in direct response to your participation in the coalition of nations waging war against the Muslim people?”
The former Martin Couture-Rouleau “killed warrant officer Patrice Vincent and injured another soldier when he ran them down with a car” in October. He also mentions Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed a guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
“You have absolutely no right to live in a state of safety and security when your country is carrying out atrocities on our people,” he said.
After criticizing Canada’s “unjust laws,” Maguire attempted to reach out to fellow Muslim Canadians by relating to the teenagers with hockey and rock music.
“I was one of you,” he continues. “I was a typical Canadian. I grew up on the hockey rink and spent my teenage years on stage playing guitar. I had no criminal record. I was a bright student and maintained a strong GPA in university.”
At the end of the video, Maguire urges Muslims in Canada to commit violent acts against the government, since the laws and actions of the Canadian government are allegedly stripping the rights of Muslims.
“To the Muslims still residing in Canada I say to you,” says Maguire. “How can you remain living amongst the disbelievers? Under their unjust, man-made laws, which are slowly, but surely eliminating the rights of the Muslims especially now that the Caliphate has been established. And furthermore, how can you stand to live amongst them peacefully when their leaders, who represent the masses are waging a crusade against your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters at this very moment?”
Radicalization experts dismiss the video and its effectiveness to recruit new members.
“It’s a bit of silly messaging,” said Amarnath Amarasingam. “You’re not going to find a Muslim in Toronto who says, ‘Hey, I also play hockey, I’m being persecuted, I guess, kind of, maybe I should migrate to the Islamic State.'”
Centre for Studies in Religion and Society director Paul Bramadat said Maguire’s message will get lost with the “normal” youth he targets.
This is not the first such video from the Islamic State targeting Canada. Another Canadian convert, André Poulin, starred in a video similar to Maguire’s back in July. He also said he was a regular Canadian who loved hockey, fishing, and hunting before joining ISIS. Poulin was killed in battle in Syria.
Mohammed Robert Heft, president of the Paradise Forever Islamic Centre in Toronto, believes if the Islamic State wants the video to work, they should release it to people in the Arabian Gulf “where images of a white Muslim convert preaching jihad will have a ‘shaming’ effect on Middle Eastern Muslims.”
“By underlining his very ordinary upbringing – the hockey, the music – he is saying, ‘Look, I have been a normal member of Canadian culture. I know what I am talking about. I am not an outsider,” said Heft. “But any right-thinking person can see through it, says Heft. “Who is [the message] really going to? A young, uneducated, sometimes depressed and unstable person in society. There’s nobody who is a balanced person who says, ‘Wow, he’s fighting a great cause.'”