Two Toronto Muslims, once jailed for their involvement in terrorist groups, have been arrested again. Police apprehended the men after being caught with bomb-making instruction manuals, literature on poisons, and information on the whereabouts of prison officers on their smartphones, directly violating their terms of probation.
According to the Ontario Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (O-INSET), both Kevin Omar Mohamed, 28, and Daniel Khoshnood, 30, were recently arrested for potential terrorism.
In June 2017, former University of Waterloo student Kevin Omar Mohamed pleaded guilty to one count of participating in or contributing to an activity of a terrorist group. Mohamed’s original charge was carrying a concealed weapon (a large knife found at his residence) and possessing a weapon dangerous to public peace. He was sentenced to four and a half years, with two and ½ years being credited for time served before being released on a peace bond in 2019. The peace bond was to be active for three years post-prison release.
“The purpose of the terrorism peace bond is to compel Kevin Mohamed to abide by court-sanctioned conditions which would mitigate the risk of him committing a terrorism-related offense. In addition, on this date and pursuant to judicial authorizations, two residences associated with Kevin Mohamed were searched by police,” reported the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The parole board reviewed Mohamed’s case in February 2019 and found that he had not entered into the de-radicalization program, which was part of his parole conditions.
The latest O-INSET investigation into Mohamed began in April 2020, just six months after he was released from prison. Part of Mohamed’s probation requirements was that he not possess a smartphone that could connect to the internet. Yet, on July 30, 2020, Mohamed was photographed waiting at a bus stop scrolling through a smartphone. Later that same day in Toronto, he was arrested. Although Mohamed was released, the authorities kept his phone and sent it off for forensic testing. What reportedly came back on August 21, 2020, was beyond appalling.
According to the forensics report, Mohamed had downloaded al-Qaeda materials, including the Global Islamic Resistance Call and MujGuide and Mujahedin Poisons Handbook. The Global Islamic Resistance Call and MujGuide contain detailed instructions on how to assemble explosives and incendiary devices. In addition, the report stated, “Some PDF documents located on Mohamed’s device were found to be documents focused on jihadi ideology produced for or by listed terrorist entities such as al-Qaeda.” In addition, Mohamed’s social media posts between 2014 and 2016 showed his fascination with attacking the West and publicly describing himself as a “supporter of international terrorism.”
The forensics report also showed Mohamed had direct communication with Khoshnood via WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal apps. Like Mohamed, Khoshnood was arrested on March 23, 2021, after violating his probation by possessing a smartphone. However, he denied knowledge of Mohamed or having communications with him despite text messages between the men being discovered. Surveillance video from November 19, 2019, also showed the two men at a pizzeria in Toronto and on Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge subway.
According to Global News, the forensic report compiled after attaining Khoshnood’s smartphone showed “a large amount of material that could be used to carry out a terrorist attack, including multiple bomb-making guides, extremist ideological material, violent propaganda videos depicting murders, as well as captured conversations wherein Khoshnood identifies himself as an extremist.”
Khoshnood’s own words written on YouTube implied his alignment with the Taliban: “We will keep sending out suicide bombers. Taliban is the true Islamic force. We will die for our cause. We will never give up. People might not like us, but we will force them to respect us. We are a force to be reckoned with. We are not scared of death, and we are ready to take on the whole world. Islam will dominate the world which is on our prophecies.”
Khoshnood was initially arrested after he robbed and shot a man 13 times with a pellet gun in 2010. Just two years later, Khoshnood robbed a Toronto hotel by gunpoint, sprayed two people with pepper spray, and got away with $1,000 cash. He went on to rob two jewelry stores before eventually being caught by police and arrested.
Despite a Canadian Parole Board stressing that neither of the men abandoned their extremist belief systems and may commit terrorist acts in the future, Khoshnood and Mohamed were placed on peace bonds again.
The terms of the peace bonds include an ankle monitor as well as being banned from driving. Mohamed’s peace bond, implemented in May, will last four years, while Khoshnood’s went into effect in August but only spans ten months. Among the 25 conditions of Khoshnood’s peace bond is his participation in the de-radicalization program called Project ReSet.