Fort St. John Mayor Blindsided by Terrorist Charges
Fort St. John, B.C. – Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman has admitted to being blindsided by the arrest of a community member on terrorism related charges Friday.
33 year old Fort St. John resident Othman Ayed Hamdan was arrested by the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) for the following offences:
-counselling to commit murder for the benefit of a terrorist group
-counselling to assault causing bodily harm for the benefit of a terrorist group
-counselling to commit aggravated assault, for the benefit of a terrorist group
“This national security criminal investigation began in 2014 and revealed that Hamdan was involved in posting pro-Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda online which included inducement and instructions to commit murder in the name of Jihad,” said the RCMP in a news release Friday.
The magnitude of the charges caught the town off guard.
“We were absolutely surprised of course,” said Ackerman. “We’re a growing community, we have lots of things on our plates that we’re dealing with and this was not something that was ever considered. It never would be in a community our size.”
She has no idea how long Hamdan’s lived in Fort St. John other than the fact “he got onto the radar with the RCMP after the attacks in Ottawa” and was not connected to the local Muslim Association.
“His activities were on the world-wide web and he just happened to reside in Fort St. John and really that only goes to reinforce that we as citizens must remain diligent in our communities and our social circles on activities that could impact or be harmful to the safety of our local citizens, neighbours and families.”