B.C. Muslims feel ‘ill’ as search begins for terror plot answers

Alleged terrorist from Surrey was musician, petty criminal and recent Islam convert

Image attributed to John Nuttall on music-sharing site reverbnation.com.

Image attributed to John Nuttall on music-sharing site reverbnation.com.

Who are they and why did they allegedly want to kill Canada Day revellers in Victoria?

That’s the biggest unanswered question after police announced the arrest of a Surrey man and woman on terrorism-related charges in a plot to detonate pressure cooker bombs outside the Legislature July 1.

Early attention focused on music purportedly posted online by John Stewart Nuttall, including death-metal rock songs titled “In League With Satan” and “The End of the World.”

Meanwhile, Nuttall’s lawyer described him as a convert to Islam and neighbours told reporters the two lived simply and listened to Islamic recordings. Nuttall also has a criminal record and a history as a drug addict.

B.C. Muslim Association president Musa Ismail said it dismays Muslims that a would-be act of terrorism right here in B.C. would be associated with their religion.

“It creates this ill feeling in your stomach – here we go again,” he said in an interview.

Ismail said Nuttall and his co-accused Amanda Marie Korody are not known to be active in local mosques or the B.C. Muslim community.

“We don’t know these people, we’ve never seen these people,” he said. “We are proud citizens, we are proud Canadians. These two individuals have nothing to do with Islam, as far as we know.”

And while the entire B.C. Muslim community is “absolutely delighted” that Mounties intervened to stop a “potentially huge disaster”, Ismail said the RCMP’s description of the Canadian-born duo as inspired by Al-Qaeda is an “ill-worded reference” that will focus undue attention on Muslims.

Al-Qaeda’s beliefs and actions contradict the basic tenets of Islam, Ismail said, and to draw any such connection is unfair.

“These are just individuals who copied whatever happened in Boston,” Ismail said, referring to the Boston Marathon bombers who also used pressure cookers as improvised explosive devices.

Security experts say Al-Qaeda and similar groups have sought to foment home-grown terror in North America, in part through the use of websites that instruct those inclined to terrorism on how to make a bomb – regardless of their motivation.

Some have predicted Al-Qaeda would target Canada over its participation in the war in Afghanistan.

SFU terrorism expert Joshua Labove said the motive for the alleged plot is unclear, except that the RCMP have ruled out environmental activism.

“Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess at this point,” he said. “It could be any number of grievances and any number of issues – or none at all.”

Regardless of any connections to Islam, Labove said Nuttall and Korody appear “unsophisticated” and under-capitalized.

He also called the RCMP’s suggestion they are “inspired” by Al-Qaeda a “strange turn of phrase” adding it might be best to consider them disconnected from Canadian society and radicalized.

As much as observers want to search for a reason, he added, “their extremist view could just be the harm of others for no apparent reason.”

Labove said the most interesting revelation by Mounties was that the investigation began in February and dragged on for five months up until the point where bombs – which police ensured were inert – were to go off.

“A lot of folks are going to ask, ‘Why let this go on as long as it did, why let it go on all the way to Canada Day?’ I think they wanted to develop a really clear lock-tight case for prosecution.”

RCMP officials stressed the two are charged under standard Criminal Code provisions, not the special anti-terrorism laws that were passed after the 9/11 attacks or provisions for enemy combatants captured overseas.

Labove said Mounties must have been confident they could stop or prevent any threat to the public as the alleged plot developed and explosives were prepared.

“When you let the pot boil you’ve got to watch and be very, very mindful of what you’re doing.”

Labove said it’s likely a police undercover agent working with the two was in position to either render the bombs safe, swap them for fakes, or perhaps had a role in their placement.

 

Songs attributed to John Nuttall on Reverbnation.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read