MANDEL: Woman in 2017 Canadian Tire terrorist attack still too dangerous to release

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Rehab Dughmosh, the convicted terrorist who attacked workers at a Canadian Tire four years ago, remains an unrepentant ticking time bomb determined to attack again.

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And so the Parole Board of Canada has wisely decided that Dughmosh won’t be released until she’s served her entire four years and 160-day sentence for four terrorism charges, which would keep her safely in custody until mid 2023.

But what do we do with her then?

Dughmosh, a 36-year-old mother of two, flew to Istanbul in April 2016 in an attempt to cross the border and join ISIS in her native Syria. Her brother tipped off the RCMP and Turkish authorities denied her entry and put her back on a flight to Toronto.

She told the RCMP she’d only been trying to visit family in Syria and the investigation was closed. In fact, her family was becoming increasingly alarmed by signs of her paranoia and fascination with online ISIS videos.

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On June 3, 2017, that fascination exploded in violence.

Rehab Dughmosh is seen in a Sept. 20, 2017 sketch from Scarborough court. (Sketch by Pam Davies)
Rehab Dughmosh is seen in a Sept. 20, 2017 sketch from Scarborough court. (Sketch by Pam Davies)

Dughmosh went to a Canadian Tire store in Scarborough’s Cedarbrae Mall, pulled out a black and white ISIS banner and tied a black bandana bearing the terrorist group’s symbol around her head.

She then charged at three store employees with a a butcher’s knife and a golf club.

“I’m here for Syria. I’m going to kill everybody,” she declared. “I want to kill all you white people. I’m from ISIS. I’m from Syria.”

Fortunately, she was subdued and disarmed before she could hurt anyone.

During her trial, Dughmosh mounted no defence and agreed to all the facts alleged by the Crown. It took a jury just an hour of deliberations before convicting her.

The judge blamed her mental illness and sentenced her to seven years less time served.

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“Her illness rendered her vulnerable to extremist beliefs,” noted Justice Maureen Forestell.

That hasn’t changed.

  1. Rehab Dughmosh is seen in a Sept. 20, 2017 sketch from Scarborough court. (Sketch by Pam Davies)

    ISIS supporter Rehab Dughmosh convicted of terror charges

  2. None

    Was anyone watching alleged terrorist Rehab Dughmosh?

  3. Rehab Dughmosh is seen in a Sept. 20, 2017 sketch from Scarborough court. (Sketch by Pam Davies)

    ISIS terrorist mentally ill but knew right from wrong: Report

Originally placed in medium security, the parole decision says Dughmosh was moved to maximum security in November 2019.

The following year, she became angry while watching Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to recent terrorist attacks in France.

“You advised staff at the institution that you were thinking of attacking someone and that all unit workers were at risk, with no exceptions. You asked to be secured in a locked room,” the board says.

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Dughmosh was transferred to another institution for safety reasons but was returned three weeks later. However, she still poses a danger.

“You continue to voice support for the ISIS ideology and fail to comprehend the long-term negative consequences of aligning yourself with the terrorist organization,” the board says.

According to the decision, Dughmosh has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and  ordered to receive psychiatric treatment for the next three years.

“You have stated that you will not voluntarily comply with psychiatric treatment,” the decision states. “Your unwillingness to participate in treatment increases your risk for acting out violently and engaging in terrorist type activity.”

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Keeping someone to the very end of their sentence is a rare step that can only be ordered if the inmate continues to pose a danger to society if granted any early release. Dughmosh fits the bill.

“You have continuously exhibited violent and potentially violent behaviour throughout your incarceration. You continue to align yourself with a known terrorist organization and have threatened to commit a terrorist act if you are released in Canada.”

A June 2020 psychological risk assessment found Dughmosh believes she has a direct link to God and her religion justifies violence against a society she rejects.

While Dughmosh refused to take part in her February 2021 psychological risk assessment, her doctors reported that medication has decreased her risk, but she would likely stop taking her meds and return to her violent ways if not detained.

The board agreed: “You are likely, if released, to commit an offence causing death or serious harm to another person before the expiration of your sentence.”

So she will be held until her warrant expires. And then what?

The good news for us is Dughmosh wants to go back to Syria.

mmandel@postmedia.com

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