‘Religious Awakening’: Ottawa Shooter; Son of a jihadist and a Social Justice Warrior

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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.

Ms. Bibeau did not answer e-mails Wednesday, and staff at her offices declined to comment. No one answered the door at her Montreal townhouse. Mr. Zehaf also could not be reached.

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.

“He wanted to go back to Libya and study,” Mr. Bathurst said. He urged his friend to make sure study was on his mind and “not something else.”

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau insisted he was only going abroad with the intent of learning about Islam and to study Arabic.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was blocked from fulfilling those plans. Sources say he intended to travel abroad, but he had not been able to secure a valid travel document from federal officials, who have been taking measures to prevent Canadians from joining extremists overseas.

His father’s history offers a hint of what Mr. Bathurst was concerned about….(read more)

The Globe and Mail

With reporting from Tu Thanh Ha in Toronto and Andrea Woo and Mark Hume in Vancouver

Follow us on Twitter: Les Perreaux @Perreaux, Colin Freeze @colinfreeze


One Comment on “‘Religious Awakening’: Ottawa Shooter; Son of a jihadist and a Social Justice Warrior”

  1. […] The Butcher Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near […]


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