VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man’s Facebook page appeared to celebrate gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and so-called “lone wolf” attacks in Western countries, his trial heard on Friday.
Othman Hamdan of Fort St. John has pleaded not guilty to encouraging the commission of murder, assault and mischief, all for terrorist purposes, as well as inducing and instructing someone to carry out a terrorist act.
Eighty-five posts on Hamdan’s Facebook page are being scrutinized in B.C. Supreme Court by RCMP Const. Tarek Mokdad, an expert in extremist jihadist groups who is testifying for the Crown.
One post in October 2014, amid ISIL’s assault on the Syrian city of Kobani, calls the forces fighting against ISIL “terrorists” and appears to applaud lone wolves, or those who commit violent acts of terror on their own.
“IS is winning more ground and the lone wolves are hitting you in the heart of your lands,” the post says, as read aloud by Crown prosecutor Lesley Ann Kilgore.
Mokdad testified that the post came merely a month after ISIL spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani called for attacks in countries that joined a U.S.-led coalition to defeat the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Al-Adnani urged ISIL supporters to strike civilians or government officials in coalition countries, including Canada, said Mokdad.
Another post in October 2014 calls Martin Couture-Rouleau, who rammed a car into Canadian soldiers in Quebec, “the real hero for hitting evil Canadian forces on their soil in retaliation for the Canadians supporting the Shiite gangs in Iraq.”
The post adds, “May Allah accept him,” which Mokdad testified is a reference to the Muslim belief that only God can decide who is a legitimate martyr.
It’s unclear whether Hamdan authored the posts himself or shared posts written by others. Mokdad testified the profile photo on several posts was a symbol from the ISIL flag.
The Fort St. John, B.C., building where Othman Hamdan lived. RCMP raided Hamdan’s suite in this building in 2015 in connection with its investigation into online postings advocating violence on behalf of the Islamic State.
Kim Bolan/Postmedia News/File
The trial began Thursday and the defence has not yet had an opportunity to cross-examine Mokdad.
Another post in January 2015 blamed then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper for lone wolf attacks in Canada.
“In response to Harper’s policy of no restrictions on Canadian criminal forces in Iraq, Islamic State issues … an order to lone wolves in Canada with ‘no restrictions’ on targets … unlike prior restrictions to government and armed personnel only,” the post says, as read aloud by Kilgore.
“If you are looking for someone to blame it is your government and elected prime minister,” the post said.
In February 2015, after three French soldiers were stabbed on patrol in Nice, a post said, “the save the world, kill a frog campaign is well on its way.”
Hamdan, who has a shaved head, trimmed beard and glasses, wore a pinstriped shirt and white Velcro sneakers to court. He sat in the prisoner’s box Friday intently scribbling notes and occasionally whispering to his lawyer.