From typical teen to jihadist: How Martin Couture-Rouleau became radicalized after converting to Islam






Martin Couture-Rouleau talked about going to Syria through Turkey for a so-called jihad, because if you die there, you’ll go to heaven. He posted images of ISIS on his Facebook page, defended the extremist group’s beheading of westerners, criticized Israel — and slowly lost more friends.


Everyone knew something was very wrong with Martin Couture-Rouleau.

Neighbours who had known him as a smiling teen quick with a cheery “bonjour” barely recognized the insular 25-year-old who kept his head down and said nothing.

Friends saw him falling heavily into a new religion soon after his bid to start his own power-washing cleaning business failed.

He grew a long beard, wrote out the Koran over and over, then started gorging on Internet “jihadi-porn,” as one friend termed it. He became estranged from friends and family and his infant child. He seemed brainwashed, some said.

On Facebook, under his new name, Ahmad Rouleau, he spouted conspiracy theories, bashed American policies and military, and became so radicalized his father called police last June.

The RCMP arrested him at the airport a month later when he tried to fly to Turkey, a common stopover for those eager to fight in Syria or Iraq. Lacking clear evidence of terrorist or criminal intent, prosecutors advised officers to let him go. They seized his passport and Couture-Rouleau became one of 93 individuals under active RCMP surveillance across the country.

RCMP outreach officers met with him several times over four months to try to change his way of thinking, “to avoid him turning to violence,” as did the imam from the modest strip-mall mosque Couture-Rouleau had joined. In their last meeting on Oct. 9, police thought they were making progress.

But 11 days after his last meeting with police, Couture-Rouleau left the basement apartment in his father’s house, bade an innocuous good morning to his father, and drove off in his 14-year-old Nissan Altima to quietly bide his time outside a federal government agency building that provided services to many of the military men and women stationed in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

After two hours idling beside the Tim Hortons on the main drag in this city of 94,000 located 40 kilometres southeast of Montreal, he finally spied his prey: a soldier in uniform. He stepped on the gas, accelerating through the parking lot, seriously injuring one soldier in civilian clothes and killing the one in uniform, 53-year-old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.


An Honour Guard folds the Canadian Flag to be presented to warrant officer Patrice Vincent's mother, Guerette Vincent, not seen, during the funeral for Master Warrant officer Patrice Vincent in Montreal on Saturday Nov. 1, 2014.


It was exactly the form of vehicular homicide Abu Muhammad Adnani, spokesman for the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), had suggested followers inflict on Canadians on Canadian soil one month before.


A local patrol officer ticketing cars in the mall parking lot saw the attack and called it in. After leading police on a four-kilometre chase, Couture-Rouleau lost control of his car, possibly swerving to avoid a nail carpet laid down by police, and ended up upside down in a ditch.

Couture-Rouleau pulled himself out of a window, put his arms in the air, then opted for suicide by cop, charging four police officers with a hunting knife.

His quest for worldwide infamy via a perverted interpretation of jihad was short-lived. Couture-Rouleau’s rampage was overshadowed two days later when a drug-addicted, homeless Muslim man named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot down 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cirillo outside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in downtown Ottawa, and then stormed Parliament Hill where he was shot to death.

In the aftermath, security officials tried to explain how difficult it is to predict the rare shift from merely troubled or radicalized to homicidal, particularly in an individual who appears to have been self-taught off the Internet.

“It depends on the type of the radicalization,” RCMP spokesman Sgt. Luc Thibault said. “You are allowed to have radical thoughts.” It’s only when overt threats are made that police can intervene.


Patrice Vincent was killed Monday in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, in an apparent terror attack.


For family and neighbours in the cosy enclave of modest bungalows, tidy lawns and the occasional motorboat in the driveway where Couture-Rouleau grew up, however, it’s clear his tragedy was more than a lapse in the security system.

It’s emblematic of a wider failure of the social system, particularly of an overburdened mental health bureaucracy and a social aid system unable to help parents in need.

Couture-Rouleau’s father said he took his son to the hospital for psychiatric care.

“They let him out the next day because he didn’t want to be there,” said Gilles Rouleau.

Retired bus driver Mr. Rouleau still greets journalists politely at his door, shaking hands before declining interviews so he can “live his grief in peace.”

“The only thing I will say is they need to change the law. Now [security officials] have to wait until they do something, somebody who has something wrong in his head,” he says, tapping his forehead. “I tried everything. Psychologists. Police. They came. They said they couldn’t do anything until he did something.

“Well, now he did.


“If [security forces] had done something, they could have saved a soldier and his family from being destroyed. They could have saved my family from being destroyed.


“They could have saved my little boy,” Mr. Rouleau says, breaking into tears and closing the door.

Couture-Rouleau’s next-door neighbour of 25 years remembers him as a smiling child, playing with her daughter in the backyard. “He was an ordinary little boy who played like all the other boys,” she said.

Things changed suddenly, about two years ago. “The smile was gone,” said the neighbour, who asked not to be identified. No more jeans, a foreign garb, no more greetings.

“He was depressed, it was obvious,” she said. Gilles Rouleau, who she described as “a marvellous father,” would complain to her over the fence that he was at his wits’ end over what to do with a boy who had lost his way and would not listen.

Friends described Couture-Rouleau as a loyal companion, quick to help, devoted to his infant son, although separated from the boy’s mother.

His slide began after his failed bid to start a pressure-washing cleaning business, in which he lost thousands and felt he had been cheated by his business partner. Before the business went sour, friends told Quebec blogger Dominic Arpin on Facebook that Couture-Rouleau was a partying bon-vivant who liked to play poker and smoke weed.

At the modest mosque he attended on the main commercial thoroughfare of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Martin Couture-Rouleau was not well known. He stayed to himself, came three to five times a week to pray, and dressed more conservatively than many of the regular members.



Afterwards, he became dejected and angry. His faith in fellow humans and himself battered, he began casting about for a new meaning in life about two years ago. He officially converted to Islam in 2013.

Initially, it appeared to be nothing more than the meanderings of a 20-something seeking a new path.

“From his online profile, he seemed like a typical and fairly boring convert who was going through internal debates with Christian belief, with atheism, with secularism, and so on,” Amarnath Amarasingam, a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University’s Resilience Research Centre, said. He didn’t start using “the language of jihad” until April or May.



“In the beginning, everything was cool,” one friend told Arpin on Facebook. “He was normal, but the more he researched, the more he became radical. He was very strict. No sinning, praying five times a day, etc. He dressed in robes, grew a beard, all he did was publish photos and videos about jihad on the Internet. He was barred from all the forums because his posts were too extremist.”

Disbelievers, Couture-Rouleau wrote, were destined for the “fires of hell.”

Other friends spoke of a troubled childhood, of a sensitive adolescent that belied the posted social media photos of a grinning young man.

Police investigators go over a hit and run scene in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu near Montreal on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.


They told of a mother who left early and never returned, of Couture-Rouleau having to attend special schools for children with discipline problems. There were minor run-ins with the law, including two arrests for impaired driving for which he was never charged. Neighbours said there had been drug problems, but he seemed to be over them.

Couture-Rouleau started reading the Koran constantly, writing it out at least 14 times, one friend told the [itals]Globe and Mail[enditals]. He talked about going to Syria through Turkey for a so-called jihad, because if you die there, you’ll go to heaven. He posted images of ISIS on his Facebook page, defended the extremist group’s beheading of westerners, criticized Israel — and slowly lost more friends.

At the modest mosque he attended on the main commercial thoroughfare of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, sandwiched between a paint shop and a tarp store, Couture-Rouleau was not well known. He stayed to himself, came three to five times a week to pray, and dressed more conservatively than many of the regular members.

Alerted by the RCMP, his imam spoke to him, trying to deradicalize his thoughts. After the attack, the mosque’s board of directors was quick to condemn his actions. “Criminal acts have no religion, or colour, or country,” the board wrote.

Surete du Quebec police investigators go over the scene of a police shooting in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu near Montreal on Monday Oct. 20, 2014.


He was angry at his father for interfering in his attempts to convert his sister to Islam. Custody battles for his young son were going poorly (in part because of his deepening involvement with extremist religious views, friends said.)

Then ISIS came to the international forefront, and a new passion was ignited. He wanted to travel to Iraq to fight, but his passport was taken away in July.

Three days before the attack, court records show Couture-Rouleau had a family-law court hearing, where the issue of child custody was likely raised. That evening, he changed his Facebook profile picture to show a drawing of two doors — one leading to heaven, the other to hell.

Canada had announced its intent to send CF-18 jet fighters to counter ISIS extremists in Iraq on Oct. 21. The day before they set off, Couture-Rouleau struck at Canada’s military.

Warrant Officer Vincent, who served 28 years with the Canadian Forces on nine separate bases across Canada and warships across the world, was laid to rest on Nov. 1 in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil.

Surete du Quebec police investigators go over the scene of a police shooting in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu near Montreal on Monday Oct. 20, 2014.

He was remembered as a conscientious soldier close to retirement who was dedicated to his family and had volunteered to help a young recruit on the day he died, as was his way. In the parking lot, red paint still outlines the spot where he was killed. A small memorial of bouquets of flowers adorns the entranceway to the federal services building. “RIP, my brother in arms,” reads a card. “To never forget who we are.”

In their statement of grief, the family said their thoughts were also with the family of Couture-Rouleau.

The question of how to ward off similar tragedies remains. Calls for increased security are offset by concerns over granting too much power to the state to pry into the private lives of individuals or restrict them for their ideologies.

Even in the case of a man who was under close supervision by all those around him, including the police, little, it seemed, could be done.

The most potent and commonly used tool police have is families and friends reporting signs of rapid, disturbing change, said Sgt. Luc Thibault of the RCMP.

“In this case, that is what happened, but nobody ever thought he would go that far.

“It’s sad. It’s just sad.”

Reporting by Glen McGregor, Andrew Seymour, Shaamini Yogaretnam, Dylan Robertson, Rene Bruemmer, Douglas Quan, Mike Hager, Reid Southwick, Erika Stark and Jana Pruden, Postmedia News with files from the National Post


















Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre


Hitler came to power winning respect in North America as a conservative with a firm hand. Those same similar attractions exist today with the simple minded who see that they want to see and refuse to acknowledge anything and everything that does not fit with their preformed conclusions.

Canada has turned into a Fascist State with Radical Ideas of Gender Superiority where fathers have no legal rights and where any crazy violent woman can allege that a father is a pedophile and simply ask those in power in Canada to terminate children's relationships with their fathers.

The Ontario Provincial Government is putting Hitler to shame, It has slowly but surely removed legal rights from men by spending hundreds of Billions of Dollars promoting hatred against men.

The Single Most Vile, Fascist Criminal Organization in Canada is the unaccountable Children's Aid Societies of Ontario who lawyers openly refer to as "The Gestapo".

The Ontario Gestapo employ lawyers who personally fabricate evidence and after they show their absolute loyalty to the Promotion of Violence towards fathers, they get to be "anointed" as Judges in Ontario. They become part of a Criminal Organization that is funded with unlimited Billions of Dollars in Cash , while ripping the guts out of legal aid funding by denying legal aid specifically fathers based on "gender".

Women in Ontario don't legal aid, they have "The Mother's Aid Society", aka the Gestapo, "The Children's Aids Society of Ontario" who spend billions of dollars of YOUR money for FREE Legal Advocacy for the most violent and unsuitable of mothers against fathers who, are increasingly denied legal aid.

Ontario is effectively a Fascist State, and those who rise to the pinnacles of power as judges are the LEAST suitable and the most likely, if not certain to abuse absolute Power, absent of course, any personality screening or mental health screening.

Take MARGUERITE ISOBEL LEWIS, who is apparently in line to be appointed a Judge, after she has an incredible reputation for Fabricating Evidence in the Court room before Judges like Tim Minnema who also was, wait for it, a former lawyer for the Children's Aid Society.

Now he not only rubber stamps CAS decisions and decisions for Violent Women against male victims of domestic violence, he even fabricates evidence personally as a judge.

Take Former Justice MONIQUE METIVIER, who holds secret Exparte Hearings for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa to grant orders for Custody of Children, to personally Obstruct Justice by defeating the legislation.  That's right this Judge has total contempt for the Rule of Law.

MONIQUE METIVIER was a Judge, complaints to the Judicial Council were neatly put in Limbo while she was given and took an opportunity to "Retire" and in so doing, avoid any finding of Obstruction of Justice by a Judge.

161 Elgin Street Ottawa is full of Criminals, You can find them in Judges Chambers where they habitually Fabricate Evidence, Obstruct Justice and act as the Political Enforcers of Ontario's Fascist Program of Gender Superiority.

These FASCISTS operate with total immunity and with total impunity supporting the worst Child Abusing Lawyers of the Children's Aid Society and Corrupt Evidence Fabricating Police who also act as "The Black Shirts" of Ontario's Fascist Government.

Mindless Murder occurs every day. Ontario runs Concentration camps for fathers, Ontario operates under Radical Extreme Feminist ideas that results in Crown Attorney's like TARA DOBEC of Ottawa who STAYS charges against the most violent of women and who prosecutes, male victims of domestic violence.

For Professional Torturers and Child Abusers, visit 161 Elgin Street and watch any of the Judges who used to work for
The Gestapo", Ontario's secret police enforcers of crimes against humanity, "The Children's Aid Societies".

Ottawa Mens Centre




Canada is breeding radicals because we have radical politicians who appoint radicals to positions of absolute power where they become enforcers of Male Sharia Law that effectively removes fathers from children 99% of the time in Ontario.

What is disturbing is that on many occasions, children are removed from the full time care of fathers who are male victims of domestic violence promoted and encouraged by our Fascist Government policy of Gender Superiority.

Ottawa Mens Centre