Kevin Omar Mohammed

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Kevin Omar Mohammed
Born 1993 (age 25–26)
Canada
Nationality Canada
Occupation student
Known for charged, tried and imprisoned for trying to join ISIS
Mohammed requested a customized scenario for Call of Duty, which included a violent image of terrorists attacking an airport, which triggered his arrest.

Kevin Omar Mohammed is a Canadian citizen who was convicted for trying to join ISIS.[1]

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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[3]:

"All kinds of kids play those kind of games every day. That in itself is not a problem. But the day after a terrorist attack in a Belgian airport, and you show a screenshot of an airport being shot up — that's so closely linked. Anybody saying something that shows sympathy for that attack is going to (get a) visit from the government."[3]

Mohammed was initially faced a weapons charge, when a search of his home found a large knife.[4] But that charge was dropped, and he was tried for "participating in or contributing to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity." He pled guilty in June 2017, and was convicted on October 31, 2017.[5] 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.[1]

Details of Mohammed's activities, and of security officials investigation into him, weren't made public until he was sentenced on October 31, 2017.[6][5][4][7][8][9]

In May 2018 Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey claimed that there are approximately 60 individuals who had returned to Canada from Daesh, but described Mohammed as the only notable conviction.[10]

In late February, 2019, Global News reported "In a newly-released decision obtained by Global News, the Parole Board said Kevin Omar Mohamed had not participated in any de-radicalization efforts and there was no evidence he was committed to changing his “extremist ideological beliefs."[11]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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." 
  2. 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." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 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." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Paolo Loriggio (2017-10-31). "Ont. man who pleaded guilty to terror charge sentenced to 4.5 years in prison: lawyer". CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ont-man-who-pleaded-guilty-to-terror-charge-sentenced-to-4-5-years-in-prison-lawyer-1.3657341. Retrieved 2019-02-26. "He pleaded guilty in early June to one count of participating in or contributing to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 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." 
  6. "How police tracked Ontario terror suspect Kevin Omar Mohamed". Global News. 2017-10-31b. https://globalnews.ca/news/3834325/how-police-hunted-ontario-terror-suspect-isis-anonymous/. Retrieved 2019-02-27. "An in-depth look at how the RCMP and other police agencies managed to find Kevin Omar Mohamed through anonymous online posts." 
  7. Greg Mercer (2017-11-01). "Former UW student jailed in terrorism case". Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Waterloo Ontario). https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7765076-former-uw-student-jailed-in-terrorism-case/. Retrieved 2019-02-27. "His lawyer Paul Slansky said Mohamed's extremist views have been softened since his arrest, and he no longer supports violence against others." 
  8. Greg Mercer (2017-11-01). "Jihadis like jailed ex-Waterloo student dodge reality, says former Islamic militant ‘They want to be Muslim Rambo’". Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Waterloo, Ontario). https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7767644-jihadis-like-jailed-ex-waterloo-student-dodge-reality-says-former-islamic-militant/. Retrieved 2019-02-27. "He describes Mohamed as more of a scholarly type who liked to quote religious passages but wasn't really as hardcore as other Westerners who have joined extremist groups." 
  9. Paola Loriggio (2017-10-31). "Ontario man who pleaded guilty to terror charge sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison, lawyer says". Toronto Star. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/10/31/ontario-man-who-pleaded-guilty-to-terror-charge-sentenced-to-4-years-in-prison-lawyer.html. Retrieved 2019-02-27. "Details of the case were made public for the first time Monday at Mohamed’s sentencing hearing." 
  10. Anthony Furey (2018-05-14). "FUREY: Toronto ISIS returnee is laughing at us - something must be done". Toronto Sun. https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-toronto-isis-returnee-is-laughing-at-us-something-must-be-done. Retrieved 2019-02-27. "While there are at least 60 returning foreign fighters in Canada, there have only been a handful of charges and only one notable conviction. Last year, Kevin Omar Mohamed was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for travelling to Syria in 2014 to join the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat Al-Nusrah." 
  11. Stewart Bell, Andrew Russell (2017-02-22). "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 2019-02-27. 
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