Thursday, April 12, 2018

Isn't That the Point? That Jihadi Terrorism is the Result of Sick Minds? Playing the System of Justice

"Terrorism is such a loaded term and connotes a level of dangerousness that ... we worry that if he is in the system as not criminally responsible for terrorism, it might unfairly affect how he is treated."
"More fundamentally though, he's not a terrorist, he's someone who is ill, and so this process and the ultimate disposition ought to reflect that reality and ultimately what we want is that he is treated as someone who is mentally ill who needs to get better."
"[Canadian terror law] does not apply to alleged one-person terrorist groups."
"In creating [anti-terror laws], Parliament was not intending to target individuals working alone, but to provide additional censure to people who commit indictable offences to assist terrorist groups."
Nader Hasan, defence lawyer

Ayanle Hassan Ali has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault causing bodily harm and one count of carrying a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, all 'at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group.' (CBC)

"Allah told me to come here and kill people." Not all that different from "Allahu Akbar", actually. According to a psychiatrist assigned to assess Ayanle Hassan Ali, a Somali-Canadian charged with a number of terrorist counts, his belief that government was listening to him while he felt possessed by spirits known as Jinns from Muslim mythology, meant the man demonstrated symptoms of schizophrenia indicated by delusions and paranoia. A description that seems to neatly conform to so many Islamists given to jihad; paranoid and delusional, committed to martyrdom.

The rational Western mind contrives those classical symptoms of an unsound mind as representing a get-out-of-prison card, that anyone that delusionally committed to a religion that exhorts its followers to commit murder and mayhem cannot possibly be sane. As such that individual, unhinged in his religious devotion, must be pardoned for his violent attempts to kill in the name of god. Where the attacker had no compunction in his attempts to kill, those he targeted must have compassion and treat him as of unsound mind.

Ali was convinced, according to Dr. Gary Chaimowitz, that should he succeed in martyring himself and in the process kill members of the Canadian military presumably involved in combat in Muslim countries, all his own sins would be pardoned by god, and he would live the good life in the afterlife. We're all familiar with that Paradisaical afterlife, replete with countless nubile virgins at the service of the celebrated martyred. Unfortunately for Ali's plans, those he attempted to kill managed to thwart his intentions and he was taken into custody by the RCMP.

Typically, his lawyers call for him to be excused; he knew not what he did and should therefore be acquitted of charges related to terror. And while justice is at it, also found not criminally responsible for 'lesser' offences since his mental state victimized him. And, as his lawyers contend, he has no affiliation to a terrorist group. How they can be so confident is strange, given the success Islamic State had in inciting their followers to embark on randomized, personal attacks on non-Muslims everywhere.

And so, two years ago in 2016, this man chose to accept that challenge, appearing at a Toronto military recruitment centre prepared to knife soldiers to death. He succeeded in merely leaving two soldiers with relatively minor injuries. He was subdued and has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault causing bodily harm and one count of carrying a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence "at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group".

His defence lawyers, in written arguments filed for Ali's trial, argue the now-30-year-old identified by a psychiatrist with signs of schizophrenia, (and by friends and neighbours as a really nice guy), should be acquitted on the terror-related charges completely. And following up from there, should be found not criminally responsible for the other 'lesser' charges of attempted murder, assault and weapons offences. Because, as his lawyers stress unremittingly, he was not in full possession of his senses.

He did, they agree, in view of the evidence and the witnesses involved, attempt to murder soldiers, he did commit assault and he did commit those weapons offences, but he should not be found criminally responsible because the poor man couldn't help himself. He was possessed by demons who instructed him how he must proceed and why he must avenge Muslims abroad for the assaults of Canadian military on undeserving Muslim worthies like Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Acquit the poor man, say his lawyers, and the problem of his blighted terrorist assault would be handily solved through custody at a secure treatment facility. His repeated slashing and punching at soldiers at the Canadian Forces recruitment office in March 2016 represented a futile fantasy of a mentally challenged Muslim whose psychological equilibrium is faulty through no cause of his own making.     
"Terrorism-related charges require a significant investigation, which can be time consuming."
"I would like to highlight the efforts of our INSET [Integrated National Security Enforcement Team which includes Toronto, York, Durham Police and the OPP] here in Ontario which worked diligently to obtain the evidence required for these charges."
RCMP assistant commissioner Jennifer Strachan, May 2016

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