Kevin Omar Mohammed
Counter-terrorism expert Mubin Sheikh told radio commentator Charles Adler that he had been in touch with Mohammed, on social media, dating back to 2014. Sheikh told Adler that Mohammed's background was West-Indian-Canadian, not South-Asian-Canadian. Sheikh told Adler that Mohammed considered joining both an al Qaeda affiliated group and the more radical ISIS.
Mohammed traveled to Turkey, in 2014, and was smuggled across the border into Syria by members of Jabhat al-Nusra. There is no evidence that Mohammed committed any offenses for which he could face charges, when he was in Syria, because family members who were concerned for his welfare followed him, and convinced him to return to Canada.
However, after his return to Canada, Mohammed's social media activity triggered scrutiny.
The CBC reports analysts noticed that, in 2015, he stopped making tweets that supported the activities of ISIS, in favour of the less radical al Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra. However an online request he made two days after radical jihadists attacked an airport in Brussels, triggered his arrest. The video game Call of Duty allows gamers to load customized scenarios, and he requested a copy of a customized scenario set in the Brussels airport that had just been attacked, that would allow him to play the role of one of the attackers. Attached to the tweet in which he made this request Mohammed placed an image, from the perspective of a shooter, of unarmed civilian airport patrons being slaughtered. According to the CBC, this tweet triggered his arrest.
Commenting on the image attached to that tweet counter-terrorism expert Mubin Sheikh told the CBC:
Mohammed was charged, tried, and convicted, on October 31, 2017. The maximum sentence he could have received was ten years, but Mohammed received a sentence of four and half years, after agreeing to plead guilty. Taking into account the time he was in custody, prior to his conviction, he will serve just two years. His sentence includes a requirement that he participate in a de-radicalization program, while in custody, and that he would be monitored for a further three years, after his release, and not access the internet, for three years. However, when the parole board considered his case, in February 2019, it noted he had not participated in a de-radicalization program.
- Stewart Bell, Andrew Russell (2019-02-21). "Canadian who tried to join terror group in Syria set for release from prison despite being ‘high risk to public safety’". Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/4986036/canadian-tried-join-terror-group-syria-released-parole-despite-high-risk-public-safety. Retrieved 2019-02-26. "Although the former University of Waterloo student was sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment as recently as October 2017, when the time he served awaiting trial is taken into consideration, his statutory release date is March 1."
- Shanifa Nasser (2019-02-22). "Ontario man dubbed 'high risk to public safety' after trying to join terror group set for release". CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/canadian-terror-release-kevin-omar-mohamed-parole-1.5030090. Retrieved 2019-02-26. "Kevin Omar Mohamed, now 26, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to participating in the activity of a terror group. He was later sentenced to four and a half years behind bars, receiving two and a half years credit for time served. He had no prior criminal history."
- Shanifa Nasser (2016-03-28). "Kevin Mohamed linked to Twitter persona that underwent 'dramatic change'". CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/kevin-mohamed-twitter-abu-jayyid-1.3509129. Retrieved 2019-02-26. "Kevin Omar Mohamed, now 26, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to participating in the activity of a terror group. He was later sentenced to four and a half years behind bars, receiving two and a half years credit for time served. He had no prior criminal history."
- Stewart Bell, Andrew Russell (2017-10-31). "Canadian who tried to join terror group in Syria sentenced to 4.5 years". Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/3834323/kevin-omar-mohamed-canadian-terror-suspect-sentenced-jail/. Retrieved 2019-02-26. "The Crown and defence both agreed on the 4-1/2-year term. Federal lawyer Sarah Shaikh said while his crime was serious he had pleaded guilty and agreed to participate in de-radicalization."