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Edmonton van attacker avoids terrorism charges despite carrying ISIS flag and holding “genocidal beliefs”

When investigators searched Sharif’s vehicle after the attacks they discovered an ISIS flag.

Edmonton van attacker and ISIS supporter Abdulahi Sharif was found guilty by a jury on 11 charges on Friday for attempting to kill pedestrians and a police officer. 

Among the charges, Sharif was convicted of five counts of attempted murder, and counts of fleeing from police causing bodily harm and aggravated assault.

On September 30, 2017, Sharif attacked Constable Michael Chernyk by purposefully striking him with his car and proceeded to stab him in the head and chest. Afterwards, Sharif got into a rented U-Haul and intentionally ran over four innocent pedestrians. 

When investigators searched Sharif’s vehicle after the attacks they discovered an ISIS flag. Prosecutors, however, did not file any terrorism-related charges. 

In 2015, a former coworker reported Sharif to the police because of his support of ISIS terrorism and Islamist extremism. 

Sharif’s former co-worker alleges that he had “genocidal beliefs”, hated Shia Muslims and praised the Islamic State. While the co-worker reported Sharif to the authorities, they deemed he didn’t pose a threat to society. 

Before being in Canada, Sharif was ordered to be deported by U.S. authorities. In 2012, Sharif fled the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and made his way into Canada, where he was granted refugee status despite being sought after by American officials. 

Republicans in Congress have accused the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of not doing enough to investigate Sharif. 

“The Committee is deeply concerned the vulnerabilities existing in 2011 which allowed this individual to enter, be released, and transit through the U.S. may still exist today,”  wrote former Representative Trey Gowdy in February.

“More than one year has passed since the attack, and it appears there has been no comprehensive study of the incident.”

Sharif’s victims have since spoken out about the trauma they have to deal with since the attack took place. 

Jordan Stewardson, a victim of the van attack who testified in Sharif’s trial, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the attack. 

“I’ve ruined relationships because of it. It’s a constant battle every day. It’s like a vicious circle. I get mad I can’t do things at the gym. Every day I get triggers of what happened,” said Stewardson.

Another victim, Kim O’Hara, says that she struggles with anxiety, depression and negative thoughts since being attacked by Sharif. 

Canadian authorities claim they did everything they could to screen Sharif before allowing him to stay in the country as a refugee. Despite the carnage of this attack in Edmonton, former Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale alleges that Sharif raised no “red flags”

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