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Her brother told police she wanted to join ISIS. They dropped the case. Then she attacked a Canadian Tire

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More than a year before she entered a Canadian Tire store armed with an archer’s bow and butcher’s knife, Rehab Dughmosh’s brother tipped off police that she was on an international flight to join ISIS.

The RCMP notified Turkish authorities, who refused her entry into the country and put her on the next flight back to Toronto. 

Dughmosh denied it. No charges were laid and the RCMP closed their file. 

These are among the details that Dughmosh admitted in a Toronto courtroom Wednesday, a year and seven months after she allegedly threatened store employees and a customer with a golf club and a knife inside a Canadian Tire in Scarborough.

Dughmosh, who in an earlier court appearance pledged her allegiance to ISIS, faces four charges in connection with leaving Canada for the purpose of participating in terror group, assault with a golf club, assault with a knife and carrying a compound bow — all for the benefit of a terror group, namely ISIS.

Dughmosh refused to enter a plea on Wednesday, but she presented no evidence to defend herself in her appearance at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. Justice Maureen Forestell entered a not-guilty plea on Dughmosh’s behalf.

Employees wrestled woman to ground

An agreed statement of facts entered in court lays out what happened on the afternoon of June 3, 2017. Dughmosh packed three bags with an assortment of homemade weapons and headed down to the lobby of her Scarborough apartment. 

Then she ran into her husband.

Anas Hanafy, separated from but still living with Dughmosh, asked the now 34-year-old what was in the bags. When he saw what was inside, he confiscated them from her.

What he didn’t know was that Dughmosh had concealed an archer’s bow and butcher’s knife beneath her robe.

At about 4:40 p.m. Dughmosh left her Scarborough home and walked to a nearby Canadian Tire store. Inside, she told an employee she wanted to purchase a set of arrows locked in a display case. The employee couldn’t hand her the items, citing a store policy that locked items needed to be given directly to a cashier for payment, according to the statement of facts.

Dughmosh, unable to pay for the arrows, left the sporting goods section and began perusing other items. She decided on a hammer, wrenches and pliers and placed them in a red shopping basket. Then she headed back to the sporting goods section, where she picked up a golf club and disappeared down an aisle.

In the meantime, you’re going to kill people in Canada?–  Kyle Craig, Canadian Tire employee

At 5:12 p.m., Dughmosh removed a black-and-white ISIS banner from under her robe, tied a black bandana with an ISIS symbol around her head and slung the archery bow over her shoulder, according to the statement of facts. With the golf club in her right hand, she made her way to the store’s paint section.

Three store employees were in the paint section helping two customers when Dughmosh charged towards them, swinging the golf club repeatedly and shouting, “Allahu Akbar [God is Great].” One of the employees grabbed her arm as she was about to swing and wrestled the golf club away.

‘When you kill us, we kill you’

That’s when Dughmosh pulled the butcher’s knife from beneath her robe and began swinging against another employee, who managed to wrestle her to the ground. A fourth employee ran over to help and was able to pry the knife from Dughmosh’s hand as someone called 911.

“Why did you come in here?” asked employee Kyle Craig. “Because of ISIS?”

“Yes,” replied Dughmosh. “When you kill us, we will kill you … When you kill Muslims, you have to pay for it from your blood.”

Dughmosh went on to explain she’d previously tried to leave Canada to join ISIS but was turned back at the Turkish border, the statement of facts says.

“In the meantime, you’re going to kill people in Canada?” asked Craig. “Why, what’s that gonna give you?”

“Revenge … to stop killing Muslims in Syria and Iraq. You’re killing ISIS, I’m from ISIS,” Dughmosh said, according to the statement. No one was seriously injured in the attack.

On the afternoon of June 3, 2017, Rehab Dughmosh walked to this Canadian Tire store at the Cedarbrae Mall in Scarborough. (Google Maps)

Disappointed she hadn’t hurt anyone

In the hours after her arrest, Dughmosh admitted the real reason for her April 2016 trip to Turkey. It was not to visit family. Instead, it was to join ISIS and live with them in the Caliphate. 

Speaking to investigators with the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET), Dughmosh admitted she’d been an ISIS supporter since 2014, having made a unilateral pledge of allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

Dughmosh was interviewed by the RCMP the previous year, after her attempt to get to Syria via the Turkish border city of Gazantiep. But it wasn’t until after the attempted attack at the Canadian Tire in 2017 that investigators understood her intentions, according to the statement.

Dughmosh told investigators she was “disappointed” she’d failed to hurt anyone during the attack. But she was happy with what she’d done, she said. The important thing was to try.

Staggering array of weapons

A search of Dughmosh’s home after the Canadian Tire incident turned up a staggering array of weapons, including a black duffel bag with knives, scissors, and a child’s shovel converted into claws.

There was much more: a red cart with a hammer, two arrows, 31 barbecue skewers, 76 straws with screws glued to the tip; and a red bag containing 36 other handmade weapons. 

Investigators also found  two propaganda videos by the ISIS media arm, each viewed several times over in the previous weeks.

Dughmosh, investigators found, had also written a will. In it she asked that God “grant me martyrdom for His sake, for the elevation of his religion and to take revenge from the criminal infidels.”

Federal Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely read aloud the statement of facts to the jury. When he was finished, Forestell asked Dughmosh if she admitted to the details.

Dughmosh replied simply, “Yes.”

A jury is expect to begin deliberating on a verdict Thursday. 

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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