*** There is no doubt he will do time for his actions. His grandiose plan was chilling even though there was absolutely no chance his band of brothers could successfully storm parliament, behead all the MP's including the PM, force the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan ... and so on.
Anyone with half an ounce of knowledge of the operational capabilities of these men knows this to be totally beyond the realm of possibility. HOWEVER, the crime is not "terrorism on a grand scale" it is ANY kind of terrorist endeavour, no matter how unachievable. It is the intent and supporting action - the call to arms against our society, our country - that cannot be tolerated.
What is more realistic than the plot is to realize that not all of these young men are hardcore killers like Taliban and Al Qaeda. As a society, we have constructed this category of homegrown terrorists as necessarily incapable of reform - which is not correct. It is based on too many assumptions that do not withstand the scrutiny of logic and facts. As much as some may WANT to believe they are all beyond repair, it is not supported by the reality on the ground.
There is quite a bit of evidence that deradicalization programs do work - if you will take the time to read what the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence has concluded - in partnership with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) - perhaps we can use this opportunity to generate data from a wholly Canadian context, thus adding to the discourse and proving how Canada operates in the global context.
Isabel Teotonio Staff Reporter
The “inspirational leader” of the Toronto 18, who “poisoned” the minds of young men and tried to develop “a band of jihadist warriors,” should be sentenced to 18 years in prison, a prosecutor told a Brampton court Monday.
While making submissions at the sentencing hearing for Fahim Ahmad, who organized training camps and plotted to storm Parliament Hill, prosecutor Jason Wakely said an appropriate starting point for such an offence is a life sentence.
But he suggested a lesser sentence is more fitting, given various mitigating factors such as Ahmad’s guilty plea, support from family, renunciation of violent views and his status as a youthful first-time offender when arrested in June 2006 at age 21.
The Crown proposed Ahmad be given two-for-one credit for time spent in pre-trial custody, which amounts to eight years and seven months of time already served.
Aside from the potential harm planned by Ahmad’s group, its mere existence is “a crime against our society that cultivates fear and insecurity,” said Wakely.
“While it was not the most well-honed sophisticated group imaginable, it was not bumbling,” said Wakely, adding the group made efforts to acquire firearms. “Ahmad was trying to develop a band of jihadist warriors, recruit them, indoctrinate them, train them.”
Ahmad’s violent Islamist views “poisoned” the minds of his co-accused and inspired a spinoff plot by Zakaria Amara, who plotted to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto, said Wakely. Amara was sentenced to life in prison in January.
Ahmad’s lawyers will make submissions Tuesday. But the defence has already submitted to the court a psychiatric report that states Ahmad poses a low risk to reoffend, as well as numerous letters written by Ahmad and his friends suggesting he has renounced his views.
“I’ve made so many mistakes and wronged so many loved ones,” writes Ahmad in a letter, adding his only solace is that no one was hurt.
Ahmad also said that while incarcerated he has been counselled on a weekly basis by two imams who have helped him restructure his “distorted thinking.”
According to another letter, a friendship with a Jewish inmate also helped Ahmad realize the error of his ways.
Ahmad pleaded guilty in May to participating in a terrorist group, importing firearms for the group, and instructing co-accused to carry out an activity for a terrorist group.
Court has heard Ahmad described as both a “time bomb waiting to go off” and a “fantasist,” who wanted to take politicians hostage until they gave into his demands to withdraw from Afghanistan.