A man who praised Osama Bin Laden online and called for ISIS attacks in Canada is being released from prison despite being considered a “high risk” to public safety.
Kevin Omar Mohamed was sentenced to serve a sentence for 4.5 years in 2017 but has been scheduled for release on March 1st, 2019 citing time already served while in custody.
Mohamed travelled to Syria in 2014 to join the Al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat Al-Nusrah terrorist cell but returned shortly after his mother and brother convinced him to come back to Canada.
After returning, Mohamed immediately took to social media to promote terrorist activities abroad including the burning of vehicles in parking lots and setting people on fire.
“In those posts [Mohammed] made comments supportive of terrorist activities, promoted violence, and suggested that a person could create timed bombs to be put on planes or boats, and burn cars of “non-believers”; [Mohammed] also commented on the beauty of attacking the west, suggestive of attacks on the Western world,” said the Parole Board of Canada addressing his internet activity.
Despite Mohamed’s unwillingness to denounce extremist beliefs, he will be released from prison with “special conditions” including undergoing “religious counseling” and not having access to the internet. Kevin Omar Mohamed will also be listed as a high security threat to public safety.
“The Board remains very concerned that the serious nature of your offences alone, coupled with your dangerous radical religious beliefs, would impede your reintegration and continue to present significant risk to the community as a whole,” said the release statement by the Parole Board.
Upon being arrested, Mohamed was found to possess a large hunting knife, a sum of cash and handwritten targets/plans to commit terrorist activities. While in custody, Mohamed made no effort to seek psychological assistance and was not apologetic for his views.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has called the federal government’s efforts to reintegrate Islamic extremists into society ineffective. In 2018, the Conservatives put forward a successful motion for stricter punishments for returning ISIS supporters, including support for the Ontario government’s plan to strip their access to provincial benefits and services.
“It’s been months since the prime minister has failed to introduce any measures to hold those who have already returned from fighting with ISIS to justice,” said Scheer. “He is offering poetry classes instead of keeping these individuals behind bars. These are people who have committed some of the most heinous atrocities imaginable.”
The Liberals have yet to take any serious action on the issue of returning ISIS fighters. In 2017, the Liberals repealed changed to the immigration act made by Harper which would strip citizens involved in terrorism abroad of their Canadian status.