Kemptville residents react to ISIS video involving local man
Published Monday, December 8, 2014 5:33PM EST Last Updated Monday, December 8, 2014 7:26PM EST
A clearer picture is emerging tonight of a young Kemptville man who appears in a chilling video, urging attacks on Canada. ISIS has released the video of John Maguire calling on Muslims to carry out lone-wolf attacks in Canada. In the six-minute video, Maguire mentions attacks on Parliament Hill and on the Canadian soldier who was run down and murdered near Montreal last month. Maguire is thousands of miles away in Syria but his message is being heard in the homes of every Canadian tonight and nowhere is it resonating more than his hometown of Kemptville. With a population hovering near 4-thousand, news spreads quickly along the main street Kemptville, especially this kind of news.
‘It’s horrendous for us,’ says Kemptville resident Michael Prosciak, ‘poor old quiet Kemptville. Now we're into an international situation.’
‘I was one of you, I was a typical Canadian,’ says Maguire, in the video in which he urges his fellow Muslim countrymen to follow the example of Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed Canadian soldiers in two separate attacks in this country in recent weeks.
The 23-year-old Maguire grew up in Kemptville, then attended the University of Ottawa and is now in Syria; radicalized and part of ISIS.
By Maguire's own admission in that chilling ISIS video, he was just another ordinary student growing up in small town Ontario, going to the North Grenville high school and playing hockey and music with his friends. Maguire spent his first 3 years of high school in Kemptville then graduated from Grade 12 at Hillcrest High school in Ottawa. Josh Powell went to school with Maguire in Kemptville and remembers him as a loner who played in a punk band and was a decent hockey player. Powell is flabbergasted by the video.
‘If you look at his eyes, says Powell, ‘he doesn’t look the same. He’s not the same person that's for sure, different beliefs, and different mindset.’
How did that happen? That's what Stephane Pressault wants to know. Pressault went to uOttawa with Maguire and converted to Islam at almost the same time.
‘I am trying to look back in retrospect, trying to see what did we miss,’ says Pressault, ‘what kind of flags were there and the only flag was really that he was isolated and no one had intimate conversations with him.’
Back in Kemptville, there is disbelief that a homegrown boy could turn into a homegrown terrorist.
‘I just don’t believe a Canadian would do that,’ says Marie Frank.
And concern over how far he will go.
‘It almost makes you think is he going to come here,’ says Joshua Powell, ‘is he going to come after some of us who did him wrong in the past, who knows?’