The picture of the terrorist that killed a Canadian soldier and shot up Parliament Hill grew a little clearer last night. Authorities have identified the dead terrorist as Michael Abdul Zehaf-Bibeau, a name recently adopted after a conversion to Islam. Zehaf-Bibeau had a criminal record for drug possession prior to his conversion, but according to the Globe and Mail also had a father who apparently participated in the 2011 rebellion in Libya. His mother is a high-ranking immigration official in Canada, which is ironic considering the status of his own passport:
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.
Zehaf-Bibeau wanted to go to Libya as well, according to a friend of his quoted by the Globe and Mail, but Canada revoked his travel papers. At least that’s where the shooter said he wanted to travel for study, but his friend wasn’t so sure that was what Zehaf-Bibeau had in mind:
“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.
According to CBS News, the passport got suspended when officials learned Zehaf-Bibeau had contacted people in Syria rather than Libya:
As the investigation of Wednesday’s shooting rampage in Ottawa continues, it’s still unclear whether the suspect had any accomplices in the attack, but CBS News can report that his passport was revoked by Canadian officials after he contacted individuals in Syria. …
“Let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a national address Wednesday evening.
He called the shooter a terrorist.
“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Harper said.
The name of the man murdered by Zehaf-Bibeau was Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was performing ceremonial guard duty at the national war memorial when shot at point-blank range by Zehaf-Bibeau. Last night, hockey fans in Pittsburgh spoke for the entire US when they honored Cirillo and our neighbors to the north by singing “O Canada” at a Penguins game — even though their opponent last night was the Philadelphia Flyers rather than a Canadian team:
Harper said last night that the shooting would not deter Canada from addressing threats wherever they arise:
In a televised address late on Wednesday, Mr Harper said: “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.
“In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts… to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe.”
It’s not just a case of workplace violence in Canada, anyway.