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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

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Attacker of the Canadian Parliament Was Drug Addict, Homeless, and Criminal, Not a Jihadist

By Hassan El-Najjar

Editor of Al-Jazeerah

October 24, 2014 

The Canadian government is using the Parliament shooting story to justify its participation in the current NATO war on Syria and Iraq and to tighten its police state measures against Muslim Canadians, particularly through more spying, surveillance, and arrests against them.

The main media outlets (news agencies, TV and radio stations, as well as printed and online publications) in the US and Canada adopted the story with excitement to attack Islam and Muslims, part of their efforts to keep the population indoctrinated for permanent wars against Arabs and Muslims.

Both of the official Canadian story and those of the anti-Arab, anti-Islam media about the October 22, 2014 Parliament shooting in Ottawa are dubious, with many holes, and do not add up to any level of credibility. 

Here're the facts, as reported by several sources below:

The suspect, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was a criminal, drug addict, homeless and a victim of divorce of his parents! He was rejected by many people who were supposed to give him support. He even begged the police to put him back in prison, and send him to rehabilitation after that, which they did not do. He attempted to go to Libya, his father's country of origin, but the Libyan Embassy refused to issue him a passport, so did the Canadian government. He was even rejected by the Vancouver Mosque he attempted to attend, for his drug addiction. Just before committing his crime, he was living in a homeless shelter in Ottawa.

This is the truth about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau!

So, instead of dealing with him as such, the Canadian government, followed by the pro-war media, quickly used the story to promote Islamophobia, calling for an increase in surveillance and spying on Muslim Canadians, and most importantly to justify the Canadian participation in the current NATO war on Iraq and Syria.

Actually, Michael knew very little about Islam, as he was a Catholic most of his life, but neither the government nor the media mentioned Catholicism as a factor behind their crimes. Instead, they focused on his recent interest in Islam, though he was kicked out of the mosque because of his drug addiction!

Just today, there was a school shooting in Washington State, and before that a person jumped over the White House fence but nobody in the US government or media would mention their religion as a factor contributing to their crimes!

If a Muslim commits a crime, he is automatically described as terrorist and Islam is attacked as a factor but if anybody else commits the same crime, religion is not mentioned!

A major hole in the official story is not explaining how Michael got the rifle while he has a criminal record, was impoverished, and staying in a homeless shelter? How can anyone with such criminal record obtain weapons in Canada, with its strong system of gun control?

This is a story of how a normal person is turned to deviance, drug addiction, homelessness, and crime as a result of divorce of his parents, loneliness, lack of social support, and rejection by the larger society. This is the right context that it should be analyzed and reported.

Abusing the story to smear Islam, repress Canadian Muslims, and justify the Canadian participation in the NATO permanent wars in the Middle East is cheap, immoral, and belittling to the intelligence of the Canadians and Americans. 

***

The suspect Michael Zehaf-Bibeau before entering the Parliament building, photo by police

Ottawa Gunman's Actions Were 'Linked To His Radicalization,' Authorities Say

by Eyder Peralta and Scott Neuman

NPR, October 23, 2014 7:56 AM ET

Susan Bibeau, the mother of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, who was killed in a gunbattle with authorities, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that she and her husband wanted to "apologize for all the pain, fright and chaos" their son created.

"We have no explanation to offer," she wrote. "I am mad at our son, I don't understand, and part of me wants to hate him at this time."

Bibeau, a senior official at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, said her son was "lost and did not fit in."

During a briefing with reporters, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said while they still don't know the full extent of Bibeau's motivation, his actions were "linked to his radicalization."

According to Paulson:

There is no evidence that Bibeau was linked to Martin Rouleau-Couture, the newly radicalized man who ran over two Canadian soldiers on Monday.

Bibeau was not on the list of 90 or so Canadians that authorities consider to be a risk and are monitoring for national security reasons.

Bibeau's email address, however, was found on the computer of a man, Paulson said, who was arrested on a terrorism charge.

Talking to his mother, police learned that Bibeau had intentions to travel to Syria. He had applied for a passport and authorities were in the midst of investigating his application.

Bibeau was a Canadian citizen and he may have also held Libyan citizenship.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports that Zehaf-Bibeau has been described as "a fairly recent convert to Islam" who had a criminal record in multiple provinces. "He was also the son of a very senior official of Canada's immigration department," she says.

The Globe and Mail says he was "a labourer and small-time criminal a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable."

The newspaper reports: "Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999."

The Globe and Mail quotes an acquaintance of Zehaf-Bibeau's who said the alleged attacker had frequently spoken of the presence of devils or demons in the world and had recently expressed a desire to go back to Libya to study. He apparently had been blocked from getting a visa to Libya by Canadian authorities "who have been taking measures to prevent Canadians from joining extremists overseas," the newspaper says.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. says Zehaf-Bibeau was charged in 2004 with drug possession, pleaded guilty and served 60 days in jail.

According to the CBC:

"Zehaf-Bibeau was in trouble with the law again in 2011, this time in British Columbia.

"Following a robbery in Vancouver, Zehaf-Bibeau was charged with robbery and uttering threats. He was found guilty of the lesser charge of uttering threats and sentenced to one day in jail, with credit for 66 days already served, according to court documents.

"Quebec court documents from 2004 show Zehaf-Bibeau lived in Montreal at the time, in the north-end neighbourhood of Villeray."

Meanwhile, Ottawa police said early Thursday they had finally ruled out the possibility of a second shooter. It wasn't yet clear whether the incident was tied to one the day before in which two soldiers were run down in a car, one killed and the other injured by someone described as having been radicalized by Islam.

"It could just be a coincidence, but certainly it did raise concern that the attacks happened so closely together," Jackie reports from Ottawa. "This all comes at a critical time for Canada, when Canada says it's going to help in the fight against the so-called Islamic State and Canada is providing men and support for that effort."

***

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave Burnaby, B.C., mosque

Ottawa gunman objected to Masjid al-Salaam and Education Centre in Burnaby, B.C., allowing in non-Muslims

CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2014 10:21 AM PT

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 1:12 PM PT

by, B.C., allowing in non-Muslims

CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2014 10:21 AM PT Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 1:12 PM PT

Burnaby news conference highlights 3:25

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial earlier this week, was asked to leave the B.C. mosque he attended and objected to its policy of allowing in non-Muslims, a B.C. Muslim Association spokesperson has said.

Montreal-born Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, lived in B.C. in recent years and had a connection to the Masjid al-Salaam and Education Centre, a mosque in Burnaby, B.C..

Speaking at a news conference on Friday morning, association spokesman Aasim Rashid denounced Wednesday's attack.

"These are acts of criminal violence and show utter disregard for human life and the laws of the world, as well as its religions," said Rashid.

"We openly condemn the propaganda of the lawless groups trying to incite Canadians to hurt other Canadians. Such propaganda is clear evidence that these groups are individuals, are sheer terrorists."

Rashid told reporters Zehaf-Bibeau had attended the mosque for three to four months in 2011 and described him as keeping largely to himself.

But, he said, Zehaf-Bibeau did object to the openness with which the mosque accepts non-Muslims.

"The mosque operates on a foundation of welcome, of community outreach and interfaith dialogue and that cannot take place when we close the doors on our neighbours.

"If he was not OK with that, he should probably choose another mosque to go to and pray." 

Finally, Zehaf-Bibeau attempted to sleep at the mosque when he was released from prison in 2012, said Rashid, which led to him being asked to leave.

Zehaf-Bibeau was charged with robbery and uttering threats for an incident in Vancouver on Dec. 16, 2011, which court records indicate may have been an attempt to get help.

At Zehaf-Bibeau's bail hearing, he told the judge himself that he wanted to serve time. The judge agreed to detain him over Christmas.

***

Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties

By Randall Palmer and Richard Valdmanis

OTTAWA Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:49am EDT

(Reuters) -

Canada's capital faced a third day of heightened security on Friday as police searched for any clues that the man who shot and killed a soldier and charged into the parliament building had help in plotting his attack.

Groups of Ottawa residents gathered early around the national war memorial where the soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was slain on Wednesday at the start of a brazen daylight attack by a man police identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian citizen.

"I feel tremendous sadness," said April Hall, 43, a doctor from London, Ontario, as she sat near the monument wiping tears from her eyes. "This is a memorial to those who sacrificed their lives for Canada, and there was a sacrifice right here on the spot."

The attack by Zehaf-Bibeau, who according to U.S. sources was a recent convert to Islam, came two days after another incident in Quebec, in which Martin Rouleau, 25 and also a recent convert, drove over two soldiers, killing one.

Both men were shot dead by security officers.

The attacks on soldiers came during a week when the Canadian military sent six jet fighters to the Middle East to take part in a campaign of air strikes against Islamic State militants.

Police said that Zehaf-Bibeau had traveled to Ottawa seeking a passport and that he had intended to travel to Syria, a hot spot of Islamic State activity.

Canadian officials vowed to continue their military efforts and on Friday two long-range patrol aircraft were due to depart Nova Scotia for the Middle East.

Separately on Friday, Turkish officials reported that an unidentified yellow powder was found at the Canadian consulate in Istanbul, with the German and Belgian consulates receiving similar packages, according to Turkish media.

'A REAL SHAME'

Police were stationed at regular points along the wall surrounding the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, where metal barricades blocked the entrances to an area popular with tourists.

Bouquets of flowers were stuck into the gate's scrollwork, as workers and visitors adapted to the tighter security restrictions in a city normally proud of its openness.

"It is a real shame," said Ian Campbell, 57, a government worker. "I don't know how you stop somebody from doing this kind of thing."

Officials planned to move Cirillo's body from Ottawa to his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, on Friday, along a 500 kilometer (310 mile) stretch of highway called the "Highway of Heroes" in honor of soldiers.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson on Thursday said investigators had linked Zehaf-Bibeau to someone charged with what he called a terrorist-related offence. He did not give details other than saying Zehaf-Bibeau's email was found in the hard drive of that person, but vowed to rapidly learn if others had helped Zehaf-Bibeau plan his attack.

Later on Friday in Calgary, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and Muslims Against Terrorism plan to hold a memorial for Cirillo, as well as Patrice Vincent, the 53-year-old warrant officer who died in Monday's attack.

Zehaf-Bibeau, who was born in Montreal, had lived in Calgary for a period, according to police.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

***

Canada's jihadi killer went from Catholic private schoolboy to criminal drug addict just two years after mother's adultery sparked parents' divorce

Daily Mail, October 24, 2014

By Daniel Bates and Nick Fagge In Montreal For Mailonline

In one of his statements Zahaf says that, as of the age of 16, Zehaf-Bibeau had no criminal record and had never appeared before a youth court. The family had also not been investigated by social services.

But that all changed soon after.

Zehaf-Bibeau's first conviction was in 2001 when he was 19 the assault during an incident in Montreal. That same year he was convicted of possessing a false credit card and impaired driving.

Over the next 13 years he racked up 13 offences in Quebec including his most serious crime, a 2003 robbery, for which he was jailed for two years and put on probation for three.

Zehaf-Bibeau drifted between jobs and traveled to Vancouver, where he briefly worked as a laborer and developed a crack cocaine drug addiction. At some point during these turbulent years he converted from Catholicism to Islam.

A mosque in Vancouver, British Columbia, kicked him out. 'His behaviour was not normal, said David Ali, vice-president of Masjid Al-Salaam mosque in nearby Burnaby.

He said: 'We try to be open to everyone. But people on drugs don't behave normally.'

In 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau tried to rob a McDonald's restaurant in the city so he could get clean from his addiction while in jail.

A psychiatrist deemed him fit to stand trial and after being convicted he was sentenced to time served, which was 66 days in jail. A transcript of the hearing reveals he was by then deeply troubled. 

He says: 'My plan is...I'm a crack addict, and at the same time I'm a religious person. I want to sacrifice freedom and good things, for a year maybe, so when I come out I'll appreciate things of life more, and be clean, or maybe get a therapy like a detox, if you guys could send me to one.'

Zehaf-Bibeau's last known home was a homeless shelter in Ottawa where he vacillated between preaching and doing drugs.

Zehaf-Bibeau had traveled to Ottawa to apply for a Libyan passport because he wanted to go to the country to study Islam, but was rejected for undisclosed reasons.

His passport had been seized but he was not among the dozens of Islamic radicals being watched by Canadian intelligence.

***

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