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Woman who admitted to attack at Canadian Tire found guilty on terror charges

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A Toronto-area woman who admitted to attacking workers at a Canadian Tire store with a golf club and butcher knife in an effort to help ISIS has been found guilty of several terror charges.

Jurors deliberated just over an hour on Thursday before delivering a decision in the case of Rehab Dughmosh, who was arrested in July 2017 after the attack at a location at a mall in east Toronto.

Dughmosh initially faced a total of 21 charges, but in the end faced four, including two counts of assault with a weapon and one of carrying a weapon — all in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

She was also charged with leaving Canada for the purpose of committing a criminal offence in connection with an attempted trip to Syria in April 2016.

Dughmosh, who represented herself in court, did not enter a plea, but not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf. She did not present a defence and declined to make any closing statements to the jury.

In his closing arguments Thursday, Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely said an agreed statement of facts presented in court — the only evidence brought in the case — shows Dughmosh is guilty of all offences.

“She could not have been any clearer that she was doing this for the benefit of ISIS,” he said.

“She literally declared the words, ‘This is for ISIS,’ she draped herself in an ISIS banner, she wrapped an ISIS bandana around her head and she repeatedly said words to the effect that she did this for ISIS.”

‘The elements of the offences have been proven’

Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell told the jury that when facts are admitted, no further evidence needs to be presented to prove them.

While it is unusual for a trial to proceed on admitted facts alone, it is appropriate to do so, and jurors should not speculate as to why it played out this way, Forestell said.

Dughmosh “has not disputed that the elements of the offences have been proven,” the judge said.

The statement, read in court Wednesday, says that while Dughmosh initially denied she was travelling in an effort to join ISIS, she admitted after her arrest in 2017 that it had been the true purpose of the trip.

The statement also says Dughmosh began contemplating an attack in Toronto about a year after her return and quickly began to build an arsenal of store-bought and homemade weapons. It says she also made an ISIS banner using black spray paint.

On June 3, 2017, Dughmosh decided to move forward with an attack and packed several bags with makeshift weapons, including a hammer, 31 metal barbecue skewers, 76 straws with screws glued to the tip, scissors and a child’s shovel “converted to claws,” the statement says.

She also hid an archery bow and 20-centimetre butcher knife inside her robe, it says.

However, on her way out, Dughmosh ran into her estranged husband with whom she still shared an apartment, and he confiscated the bags of weapons, the statement says. He did not know about the concealed weapons.

Once she arrived at Canadian Tire, Dughmosh tried to obtain arrows but they were locked in a display case and an employee said he could only bring them to the cashier, the document says.

Dughmosh did not have money, so instead gave up on the arrows and walked through the store collecting tools in a shopping basket, it says. She then went to get a golf club, it says.

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

Shortly after 5 p.m. RY, Dughmosh pulled an ISIS banner from under her robe, tied an ISIS bandana around her head and took out the bow, the document says. She then grabbed the golf club and walked over to the paint section, where three employees were helping customers, it says.

The statement says Dughmosh charged at them, swinging the club and chanting. “This is for ISIS,” but staff were able to grab the club from her hands. She then pulled out the butcher knife, but the employees managed to wrestle her to the ground and eventually seize the knife, it says.

No one was seriously hurt, although one employee suffered bruises and was also bitten by Dughmosh, the document says.

Police arrived and called in RCMP due to the possible terror link, it says. In her interview with the RCMP’s national security unit, Dughmosh admitted that she had unilaterally pledged allegiance to ISIS after reading about the terror group and watching videos online, the statement says.

She told investigators she chose that day for the attack because “there would be many people at the mall,” the statement says.

“She said she wanted to hurt people and make them feel fear but not kill them,” the document says, explaining the attack was meant as payback for what she saw as the public’s tacit agreement with governments killing Muslims.

“She wanted news of her own attack to be published, she believed ISIS would be happy with what she had done,” it says. “She was disappointed that she failed to hurt anyone in her attack but also stated that the important thing was to try.”

Police later searched her home and found the bags with the weapons confiscated by her estranged husband, as well as a cellphone that contained propaganda videos and a handwritten will in which Dughmosh asked to be granted martyrdom, the statement says.

Dughmosh previously underwent a psychological assessment and was deemed fit to stand trial.

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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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