Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal — a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.
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. . . .
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau grew up in Eastern Canada, including Ottawa and Montreal, and had spent time in Libya before moving to Western Canada to become a miner and labourer, according to friend Dave Bathurst.
Mr. Bathurst said he met Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau in a Burnaby, B.C., mosque about three years ago. He said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views or inclinations toward violence — but at times exhibited a disturbing side.
“We were having a conversation in a kitchen, and I don’t know how he worded it: He said the devil is after him,” Mr. Bathurst said in an interview. He said his friend frequently talked about the presence of Shaytan in the world — an Arabic term for devils and demons. “I think he must have been mentally ill.”
Mr. Bathurst last saw Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau praying in a Vancouver-area mosque six weeks ago. He spoke of wanting to go to the Middle East soon. . . .
At the Burnaby mosque, Mr. Bathurst said his friend’s “erratic” behaviour — he did not elaborate — caused frictions with the elders at the house of worship, who asked him to stop attending prayers. At that time, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was living in a barely furnished single-room apartment.
Mr. Bathurst said he recalls his friend being arrested at the mosque a few years ago after bizarrely calling police to tell them about a crime he had committed many years before.
We can expect more information about the terrorist to be reported over the next few days, but I think we already have the basic picture. Next question: Is there a direct connection to ISIS or another international Islamic terrorist conspiracy?
Authorities haven’t disclosed any connection between the gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, and ISIS. . . .
This summer, ISIS released a video featuring a Canadian reportedly named Andre Poulin making a pitch for recruits. The video showed the group’s intensified efforts to bait international recruits. It also highlights a message that a normal Westerner gave up a good life of comfort to join jihad — and so can others. Poulin’s speech is interspersed with beauty shots of Canada.
And last month, ISIS released a 42-minute recording in which it asked Canadians to kill civilians and military members.
“Rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict,” the recording said.
There are unconfirmed reports of evidence of a direct ISIS connection to Zehaf-Bibeau, but we will wait and see.
As I said Thursday, the “leaderless cell” model of underground terrorist organization can make it difficult to connect the dots and prove that Killer X is part of Group Z. Furthermore, in the Internet age, radicals can broadcast their messages and any “lone wolf” can respond to those messages and, unless the “lone wolf” terrorist makes a statement or leaves behind a bread-crumb trail of electronic evidence, you can’t really say that Radical Message A directly led to Terrorist Act B.
So we don’t know, and may never know, exactly how it was that Zehaf-Bibeau went from crazy Muslim to terrorist. Rather than focus on the details of that, however, let’s look at the general pattern in the context of history. What you find about killers like this is that the misfit or mental case has both real-life problems and an extremist ideology. Think about Lee Harvey Oswald who, like Zehaf-Bibeau, was the product of a broken home and, like Zehaf-Bibeau, adopted the ideology of a foreign enemy. Whereas the Canadian-born Zehaf-Bibeau became a Muslim in the 21st century, the American-born Oswald became a Marxist at a time when the Soviet Union was America’s greatest enemy.
What causes some people to adopt the ideology of hostile foreign powers? They are misfits and malcontents who are alienated from their own national society, hostile to the dominant culture. By identifying with an extremist ideology, this type of warped personality seeks a kind of empowerment that enables them to enact their fantasy of revenge on the society that rejects the misfit.
And you know what? That describes the typical feminist.
Think about that.
First published at TheOtherMcCain.com
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.