MONTREAL—For more than a year they tried. For more than a year they failed to help their friend, Martin Rouleau, see the light of day. —
Whether it was psychological troubles or honest zeal, the young entrepreneur from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the friend to all and father to one young boy was lost to a world of conspiracy theories, hatred and religion-fuelled anger that led to what intelligence and security experts have been fretting about for years: a homegrown, radicalized terrorist acting out on Canadian soil.
“It was a terrorist attack and Martin died like he wanted to. That’s what happened,” one close friend, who asked not to be named, told the Star.
Martin Rouleau adopted the Facebook handle “Ahmad Rouleau,” or the Twitter name “Abu Ibrahim AlCanadi,” or created his account on Ummaland, the Muslim social media site, wearing the face covering of a jihadi bearing his copy of the Qur’an like a trophy.
He became obsessed with practicing his new religion. He prayed constantly. He sprouted a heavy beard, but Rouleau’s friends never considered him to be a threat to himself or to others.
Instead, he spent all his energies during visits with friends trying to convince them about his newfound faith, trying to convert them.
“He thought it was true. He believed it all,” Prince said. “He thought that of all the religions it was Islam that was the truest.”
His Facebook posts stretching back to May 2013 touch on the cause of Palestinians, the righteousness of Islam over Christianity and post several photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders with orthodox Jews. His Twitter account, in which he takes the AlCanadi moniker commonly used by foreigners that have gone to fight with Islamic terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, has no posts but follows a number of ISIS-related users whose focus is the attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this summer, the two friends said, Rouleau was stopped by authorities while trying to leave the country.
“He did this because he wanted to reach paradise and assure paradise for his family. He wanted to be a martyr,” said the friend who asked not to be named.
But he also defended some of the most despicable acts for which ISIS has been roundly condemned. When ISIS started decapitating hostages, he defended his faith.
“He became an extremist. He wanted to go fight jihad but they wouldn’t let him do it. The caliphate called all the Muslims on earth to fight. He listened to what they had to say and he did his part here.”
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