Canada: Lawyer for Allahu Akbar-shouting jihadi says he is not a terrorist but ‘a mentally ill guy waving around a knife’

The media perpetuates the myth that Muslims waging jihad are mentally ill. Here are two examples where the jihadis were found to NOT be mentally ill:

Labeling a jihadi with “mental illness” deprives the jihadi of the responsibility he took to murder in the name of an ideology, Islam. In this case, Ayanle Hassan Ali was mentally ill but seemed to understand the tenants of jihad and martyrdom in Islam.

For some analysis of the topic of “mental illness,” click here.

For some reference to a reward for dying as martyr in Islam:

Qur’an 3:157: And if ye are slain, or die, in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass.

3:195: And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: “Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another: Those who have left their homes, or been driven out therefrom, or suffered harm in My Cause, or fought or been slain,- verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath;- A reward from the presence of Allah, and from His presence is the best of rewards.”

9:20: Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in Allah.s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah. they are the people who will achieve (salvation).

9:111: Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise)they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah. then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.

And the ahadith:

Sahih Muslim 1899: It has been reported on the authority of Jabir that a man said: Messenger of Allah, where shall I be if I am killed? He replied: In Paradise. The man threw away the dates he had in his hand and fought until he was killed (i. e. he did not wait until he could finish the dates).

Sahih Muslim, book 12, hadith 18: I heard my father saying in the presence of the enemy: The Messenger of Allah said, “The gates of Jannah are under the shades of the swords.” A man with a shaggy appearance got up and said, “O Abu Musa! Did you hear the Messenger of Allah say that in person?” Abu Musa replied in the affirmative; so he returned to his companions and said: “I tender you farewell greetings.” Then he broke the scabbard of his sword and threw it away. He rushed towards the enemy with his sword and fought with it till he was martyred.

Sahih Bukhari 2792. Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, “A single endeavour (of fighting) in Allah’s Cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it.”

Sahih Bukhari 2818. Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: Our Prophet told us about the message of our Lord that “Whoever amongst us is killed will go to Paradise.” Umar asked the Prophet, “Is it not true that our men who are killed will go to Paradise and their’s (i.e. those of the Pagan’s) will go to the (Hell) fire?” The Prophet said, “Yes.”

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abi Aufa: Allah’s Messenger said, “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords (Jihad in Allah’s Cause).”

Sahih Bukhari 2787. Narrated Abu Hurairah: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “The example of a Mujahid in Allah’s Cause – and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause – is like a person who observes Saum (fast) and offers Salat (prayer) continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.”

Toronto Sun, April 12, 2018. (Archive link)

It’s lucky no one died on that terrifying day. Sgt. Jesus Castillo certainly came close.

On March 14, 2016, suffering from schizophrenia and in the midst of a psychosis, Ayanle Hassan Ali stormed into the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre in North York bent on becoming a jihadi martyr.

“I have a licence to kill, I have a green light to kill,” he had written in his diary. “One soldier is all it takes, just one. I can’t let those fools play games with me. I’ve been ready and willing for a while now.”

According to an agreed statement of facts, as Cpl. Ryan Kong tried to screen him before he entered the government office, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ali repeatedly punched him in the head and then grabbed a large kitchen knife from his folder and lunged at the soldier, leaving him with a 7.6-centimetre gash to his arm.

Petty Officer Charles Bressette went to the aid of his colleague, jumping over a desk and arming himself with a chair to shield himself from the knife-wielding Ali while forcing him away from Kong. Ali then ran past Bressette and into the recruiting centre.

When Sgt. Tracy Gerhardt heard the commotion, she rushed out of her office. Ali swung his knife at her, barely missing the back of her neck. He then tried to slash and stab Castillo after he slipped on spilled coffee and lay sprawled on the ground.

It’s luck that saved his life, it seems. A witness said Ali’s blade hit the ground with his first attempt at stabbing Castillo. He tried several more times but the tip of his knife was now facing the ceiling, rather than the soldier’s torso and head.

Ali was finally subdued by the soldiers after they threw a photocopier at him and piled on him as he fell to the ground. Bressette seized his iPod; it was open to Chapter 2 from the Koran.

The scene of chaos and confusion lasted less than a minute. Witnesses said they heard the attacker muttering a prayer and shouting “Allah akbar.”

Ali, 30, 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.”

Two psychiatrists have now testified he’s suffering from schizophrenia and was in a psychotic state at the time. “He wanted to kill the soldiers to achieve martyrdom,” testified Dr. Philip Klassen on Thursday.

Before the onset of his mental illness, Ali was a university student and has no previous violent history. As he entered his 20s, he became increasingly reclusive and paranoid, hearing “chatter” in his head. He’s now being treated for schizophrenia, which also afflicts his mother, but his current medication doesn’t appear to be completely successful, warned the forensic psychiatrist.

“He still seemed to express a wish that he’d achieve martyrdom,” he told the court. “He believes he was morally justified in attacking soldiers.”

Nor does he understand his illness. During their two sessions last fall, Klassen said Ali claimed to be possessed by evil spirits known in his culture as jinns….