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Victim stabbed by alleged ISIS supporter aboard B.C. bus says attack was unprovoked

Click to play video: '‘We don’t know the motive’: B.C. bus attack survivor’s family speaks out'
‘We don’t know the motive’: B.C. bus attack survivor’s family speaks out
'We don't know the motive': B.C. bus attack survivor's family speaks out – Apr 5, 2023

The victim slashed in the neck by an alleged ISIS supporter aboard a transit bus in B.C. says the attack was unprovoked.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” the resident of Surrey, B.C., told his family in text messages written from the hospital.

“There was absolutely no altercation or anything like that before he attacked,” said the victim, who Global News is not naming at his request.

The attacker “seemed a little off” when he boarded the bus in Surrey on Saturday morning, the man said in the series of texts.

“He said nothing. Just thought he tripped, then I seen the knife. Then self-defence mode kicked in. Managed to push him off the bus.”

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A source confirmed the events depicted in the texts, which were provided by his brother-in-law Chris Jensen.

Surrey bus attack victim shows gash on his neck where he was slashed by man accused of supporting ISIS. Global News

The victim declined to comment on Wednesday but showed Global News the 10-inch gash along his neck. The knife nicked his vocal chords and an artery.

A suspect arrested at the scene, Abdul Aziz Kawam, has been charged with four counts of terrorism, alleging he conducted the attack for ISIS.

The charges are based on statements Kawam allegedly made shortly after the stabbing. He has also been charged with attempted murder.

A second victim was also attacked at a bus stop just before the stabbing. The suspect allegedly slashed at his throat with a knife but missed and the victim got away.

Kawam was scheduled to return to court on Wednesday.

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Canada has experienced several low-level attacks inspired by ISIS. In 2019, a woman was convicted over an attack in a Toronto Canadian Tire store.  Another ISIS supporter killed a woman with a hammer on a Toronto sidewalk in 2020.

Years later, ultraviolent ISIS ideology remains attractive for some. Last week, RCMP arrested an alleged Montreal ISIS supporter on a terrorism peace bond.

The weekend bus attack in B.C.’s Lower Mainland was depicted as an altercation until RCMP national security investigators took over on Sunday.

The charges against Kawam were soon upgraded to terrorism. “The amended charges relate to allegations the assaults were carried out for the Islamic State,” the RCMP said.

A knife was seen on the ground near the Saturday’s knife attack on a bus in Surrey, B.C. Global News

The victim whose neck was slashed was released from hospital Tuesday, according to his brother-in-law Jensen.

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“He’s shaken up by it,” Jensen said in an interview.

He said the victim was an employee of a pet food company in his 30s who was running errands when he was attacked.

On Saturday, he left to load his bus pass. He wasn’t gone long before the family was told he had been stabbed and was being taken to hospital for surgery.

They thought it was a cruel April Fool’s prank but then they saw the news reports about the knife attack on a nearby transit bus.

Text from victim of Surrey bus attack. Handout

“He’s an unassuming guy, he’s shy, he’s quiet. He’s never had a negative word about anybody,” Jensen told Global News.

“He’s overall just a nice guy who likes to come home from work, play video games with his friends,” he said. “This shouldn’t happen to anybody, let alone him.”

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He said the victim had not mentioned anything about the attacker making comments about ISIS.

“I don’t know what was going through his head,” Jensen said.

The attack could have been worse had his brother-in-law not fought back, he said. “I personally think he saved peoples’ lives that day, that he fought with that suspect and got him off the bus.”

Jensen has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $2,000 to help the victim get by until he can return to work.

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

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