This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun
Rehab Dughmosh is an unrepentant terrorist and a proud follower of ISIS. And yet, court hearings revealed that Canadian officials treated her with kid gloves.
The 34-year-old woman was found guilty of terrorism charges in a Toronto court this week for her 2017 ISIS-inspired attack at a Canadian Tire in Scarborough, Ontario. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Dughmosh’s pathetic, low-grade attack was immediately thwarted, and she was quickly subdued by a handful of brave Canadian Tire employees.
The court heard that Dughmosh had assembled a stockpile of makeshift weapons, which were taken away by her husband. Instead, she went to Canadian Tire with a butcher’s knife and picked up a golf club from inside the store.
She wrapped a black ISIS bandana around her head, with the ISIS logo proudly displayed on her forehead, then charged employees while shouting the familiar battle cry: “Allah Akbar” and “this is for ISIS.”
She swung the golf club, then pulled out the knife and finally resorted to biting the employees who wrestled her to the ground. Thanks to the courage of the store employees, this deranged terrorist was stopped.
The court heard that a cell phone video captured a conversation between the terrorist and one of the store employees, who asked her why she was trying to stab people.
“When you kill Muslims, you have to pay … this is revenge for Muslims. To stop killing Muslims in Syria and Iraq,” she told him.
Dughmosh was arrested and charged, and she later told officials she thought ISIS would be proud. According to the statement of facts heard by the court, Dughmosh said she was “disappointed that she failed to hurt anyone in her attack” but that she “did not regret doing what she did.”
She told officials she has been an ISIS supporter since 2014 and that at some point, “God willing, she would like to be a martyr.”
Her statement also revealed something alarming about Canadian officials and the way they handled her ISIS run-ins in the past.
In 2016, Dughmosh claimed she left Canada and flew to Istanbul. From there, she travelled across Turkey to the Syrian border — the same route taken by thousands of Western terrorists who joined ISIS.
She was stopped, however, at the Turkish border with Syria. According to the statement of facts, her brother alerted authorities that she was overseas and trying to join ISIS, and Turkish officials were able to intervene.
She was detained and sent back to Canada, where she was questioned by the RCMP. Remarkably, the RCMP decided to “put aside” her case. No charges were ever laid.
But why? Canada has specific laws on the books making this act illegal.
Leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group breaks federal law. According to the criminal code, it’s an indictable offence and could come with a prison sentence anywhere from 10 years to life imprisonment.
And yet, the RCMP dropped her case.
Rehab Dughmosh is an ISIS-loving terrorist. But because Canadian officials did not take her seriously, she was let go — without punishment. A year later, she was trying to kill Canadians in the name of the Islamic State.
Dughmosh may have been an amateur terrorist who failed to do any real damage, but the RCMP failed to do its job in keeping Canadians safe.
When it comes to the critical challenge of combating terrorism, Canada is proving itself as amateur as this bush-league terrorist.
Candice Malcolm is the Founder of the True North