A Toronto security guard on trial for allegedly attempting to join the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab testified Monday he wanted to move to a Muslim country because of the discrimination he suffered in Canada, but insisted he did not support terrorism.
“I felt that throughout my time in Canada I felt a lot of discrimination, whether because I’m black or I’m Muslim,” Mohamed Hassan Hersi said. “I felt that if I lived in a Muslim country, I probably would not experience Islamophobia.”
Mr. Hersi, 28, told jurors as he began his defence that his entire clan was “hostile” to the group and its “extreme methods.”
They do tyrannical things like cut off peoples’ hands“They do tyrannical things like cut off peoples’ hands,” said Mr. Hersi. “I don’t really like Al-Shabab.”
He insisted he was opposed to terrorism, which he called immoral and anti-Islamic. Terrorists who cited Islam to justify violence were taking the Koran out of its historical context, he added.
As the defence began presenting its case, Mr. Hersi took to the witness stand to counter the prosecution’s portrayal of him as a would-be jihadist immersed in online Al Qaeda propaganda.