By Stewart Bell
Before he left Canada last year, John Maguire, a recent convert to Islam, told a student he knew from the University of Ottawa’s multi-faith prayer room that he would be going away, but he was uncertain about whether he was coming back.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Although there were rumours, nobody was quite sure what had happened to Mr. Maguire until the RCMP showed up at his mother Patricia’s house a few months later. They said he was in Syria. They said he had travelled there on a one-way ticket.
Since then, he has made no secret of his newfound extremism, writing online under the name Yahya Maguire that Canada was “evil” and that what he had done offered “the reward of jihad” and “the opportunity for martyrdom.”
The 23-year-old, who once aspired to play in the NHL, is now one of dozens of Canadians under RCMP investigation after allegedly making their way to Syria, some to join extremist factions such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham.