The RCMP declined to comment on the case but friends and family told the National Post in interviews that police were investigating Mr. Maguire, who appears to have embraced the ISIS cause since leaving Ottawa in January 2013.
The ISIS logo was the banner on his Facebook page and he wrote that opposing the so-called caliphate declared by the terrorist group was “apostasy.” He defended the destruction of shrines and said Christians had to convert to Islam “or face the sword.”
“I can’t understand,” said a friend, who asked not to be publicly identified. Like the others, he was approached by Canadian authorities following Mr. Maguire’s sudden departure. “Before he left, he didn’t seem like that type of guy.”
Counter-terrorism officials say they are concerned that Canadian fighters who survive the conflicts in Syria and Iraq may return home to spread anti-Western radicalism and conduct terrorist attacks, but Mr. Maguire does not seem to want to leave.
As a boy, Mr. Maguire had a tough time, she said. After his mother left an abusive relationship and then suffered health problems, he was raised partly by his grandparents. “John is a very smart kid,” Ms. McPherson said, “but there was always something kind of closed off, and he kept to himself. And, of course, that’s exactly what these people are looking for — a bright guy, kind of a loner, needing a place to fit in.”
His Facebook account, which was filled with bigoted comments about both non-Muslims and Muslims who do not subscribe to his extremism, was taken down shortly after a reporter sent him a message requesting an interview.
Mr. Maguire did not respond to questions sent to his various social media accounts. But on a social network account associated with his Twitter page, he explained at length his decision to relocate to a “land of jihad.”
Canada was a country Muslims should “hate for the sake of Allah” because of its “support for the enemies of Islam,” notably the United States and Israel, and its “war against the Muslims in Afghanistan,” he wrote.
“Evil is very prominent in Canadian culture, homosexuality, fornication and adultery are generally accepted, drugs and alcohol are easily accessible and widely accepted as being ‘normal,’ women and men are often not properly covered, music is widespread in public places.”
He explained he had not sought his parents’ permission to travel abroad because jihad was “obligatory” and “in this situation the son is to go for jihad regardless of what his parents say.” To please God “one should sacrifice what he has in the West and make hijrah [migration] to a land of jihad.”
Extremist named John Maguire: Ottawa student likely joined ISIS after converting to Islam and moving to Syria | National Post