B.C. Muslims feel ‘ill’ as search begins for terror plot answers

Alleged terrorist from Surrey was musician, petty criminal and recent Islam convert

Image attributed to John Nuttall on music-sharing site reverbnation.com.

Who are they and why did they allegedly want to kill Canada Day revellers in Victoria?

That’s the biggest unanswered question after police announced the arrest of a Surrey man and woman on terrorism-related charges in a plot to detonate pressure cooker bombs outside the Legislature July 1.

Early attention focused on music purportedly posted online by John Stewart Nuttall, including death-metal rock songs titled “In League With Satan” and “The End of the World.”

Meanwhile, Nuttall’s lawyer described him as a convert to Islam and neighbours told reporters the two lived simply and listened to Islamic recordings. Nuttall also has a criminal record and a history as a drug addict.

B.C. Muslim Association president Musa Ismail said it dismays Muslims that a would-be act of terrorism right here in B.C. would be associated with their religion.

“It creates this ill feeling in your stomach – here we go again,” he said in an interview.

Ismail said Nuttall and his co-accused Amanda Marie Korody are not known to be active in local mosques or the B.C. Muslim community.

“We don’t know these people, we’ve never seen these people,” he said. “We are proud citizens, we are proud Canadians. These two individuals have nothing to do with Islam, as far as we know.”

And while the entire B.C. Muslim community is “absolutely delighted” that Mounties intervened to stop a “potentially huge disaster”, Ismail said the RCMP’s description of the Canadian-born duo as inspired by Al-Qaeda is an “ill-worded reference” that will focus undue attention on Muslims.

Al-Qaeda’s beliefs and actions contradict the basic tenets of Islam, Ismail said, and to draw any such connection is unfair.

“These are just individuals who copied whatever happened in Boston,” Ismail said, referring to the Boston Marathon bombers who also used pressure cookers as improvised explosive devices.

Security experts say Al-Qaeda and similar groups have sought to foment home-grown terror in North America, in part through the use of websites that instruct those inclined to terrorism on how to make a bomb – regardless of their motivation.

Some have predicted Al-Qaeda would target Canada over its participation in the war in Afghanistan.

SFU terrorism expert Joshua Labove said the motive for the alleged plot is unclear, except that the RCMP have ruled out environmental activism.

“Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess at this point,” he said. “It could be any number of grievances and any number of issues – or none at all.”

Regardless of any connections to Islam, Labove said Nuttall and Korody appear “unsophisticated” and under-capitalized.

He also called the RCMP’s suggestion they are “inspired” by Al-Qaeda a “strange turn of phrase” adding it might be best to consider them disconnected from Canadian society and radicalized.

As much as observers want to search for a reason, he added, “their extremist view could just be the harm of others for no apparent reason.”

Labove said the most interesting revelation by Mounties was that the investigation began in February and dragged on for five months up until the point where bombs – which police ensured were inert – were to go off.

“A lot of folks are going to ask, ‘Why let this go on as long as it did, why let it go on all the way to Canada Day?’ I think they wanted to develop a really clear lock-tight case for prosecution.”

RCMP officials stressed the two are charged under standard Criminal Code provisions, not the special anti-terrorism laws that were passed after the 9/11 attacks or provisions for enemy combatants captured overseas.

Labove said Mounties must have been confident they could stop or prevent any threat to the public as the alleged plot developed and explosives were prepared.

“When you let the pot boil you’ve got to watch and be very, very mindful of what you’re doing.”

Labove said it’s likely a police undercover agent working with the two was in position to either render the bombs safe, swap them for fakes, or perhaps had a role in their placement.


Songs attributed to John Nuttall on Reverbnation.com

Just Posted

It’s complicated: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps breaks up with Facebook

“I’m quitting Facebook so I stop contributing in any way to this cycle of psychological violence where fear and anger get more air time than joy”

McClure house fire saw Victoria firefighters use drone for first time in live situation

Aerial device feeds intel to crews to help formulate firefighting action plans

Victoria beer leaguer turns heads as Joe Thornton doppleganger

Joe Thornton lookalike from Victoria makes it on NHL.com

Jazz songstress Ellen Doty brings her sweet sound to Hermann’s Jazz Club

March 27 concert in Victoria part of national CD release tour

Brentwood Bay tech company teams up with Silicon Valley

Updated: Medical diagnostic gear from 19 Labs ready to connect remote patients with doctors

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Abuse survivor Theo Fleury has been working with communities focusing on healing since 2009 and visited Esketemc First Nation in the Cariboo this week.

A B.C. council takes action in wake of former municipal politician’s sentencing

Dave Murray was sentenced to nine months for a sexual assault that occurred 26 years ago.

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Muddy water found in taps at B.C. hospital prompts investigation

Northern Health to hire consultant to examine three facilities for potential contamination

RCMP officer charged after pedestrian struck at crosswalk

A man suffered a broken leg and head lacerations after being struck by the police vehicle in 2017

Most Read