As the Windsor Star reported last week, “A Canadian man convicted of terrorism for nearly killing a Michigan police officer while yelling ‘God is great’ in Arabic was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, after boldly declaring that he only regretted not having a machine-gun during the knife attack.”
The Canadian man is Amor Ftouhi, 51, a Tunisian who moved to Montreal in 2007. In 2017, Fthouhi entered the United States at Champlain, NY, and drove 1,000 miles to the Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan. There Ftouhi attacked police officer Lt. Jeff Neville, striking him the neck. As the Star reported, investigators found that “Ftouhi wanted to take Neville’s gun and start shooting people,” which the Muslim confirmed in court.
“Do I regret what I did? Never,” Ftouhi told U.S District Judge Matthew Leitman. “I regret I didn’t get that machine-gun. I regret I didn’t kill that cop.” The man who yelled Allahu akbar as he attacked also spoke out on other themes.
As his photo revealed, Ftouhi is as pale as Justin Trudeau, but he “felt discrimination in Canada because he wasn’t a white Christian.” Ftouhi pledged allegiance to his Muslim faith and said western countries and Arabic countries should be cursed if they “don’t rule according to Allah.”
Ftouhi’s attorney Joan Morgan claimed the attacker had mental health issues but “is more than what his actions were.”According to an Associated Press report, the lawyer claimed Ftouhi “wasn’t attempting to create mass casualties,” and “wanted to be killed so his family could collect life insurance and he could become a martyr.” Judge Leitman told the court that Ftouhi’s own remarks “persuaded me beyond any shadow of a doubt” that a life term was appropriate.
Lt. Neville survived but a loss of feeling on the right side of his face forced the officer to retire. Neville praised the fellow officers and bystanders who took down the attacker and said Ftouhi, “should never walk the streets as a free man again.” The case invites comparisons to an attack across the border in Windsor, Ontario.
On October 8, 2017, Anne Widholm, 75, was walking alone on the Ganatchio Trail when she suffered a vicious attack that left her near death. Windsor police arrested Habibullah Ahmadi, charging him with aggravated assault. The accused attacker, 21, was described as a “Windsor man” but unlike Ftouhi, his photo did not appear.
News reports said Habibullah was also known as “Daniel” but provided no information about the accused attacker. Habibullah was not quoted and neither was any relative, friend, co-worker or fellow student in Windsor.
On July 25, 2018, a Peter Langille story on Windsor’s AM800 radio said Widholm suffered “life threatening injuries” and the charges had been upgraded to attempted murder. More important, “Ahmadi’s trial will be before a judge alone and his trial will be set in January 2019.”
The report cited no police or court source for those claims.
Anne Widholm died on December 15, 2018, a full 14 months after the October 8, 2017 attack but no trial date was set in January 2019. A January 21 story by the Windsor Star’s Dalson Chen touted plans for an Anne Widholm memorial, including a bench, a plaque and “possibly a floodlight.”
Such a memorial does not show up in the April 14, 2019, Windsor Star report by Taylor Campbell announcing a trash pickup on the Ganatchio Trail in memory of Anne Wildholm “the woman who was viciously attacked while walking there in 2017 and later succumbed to her injuries.” Readers might have noted something unusual about the story.
Seven photos show volunteers picking up trash, but not a single photo showed Anne Widholm, subject of the memorial. By all indications, the Star has never shown a photograph of the attack victim, nor that of Habibullah Ahmadi, the man accused of attacking her.
The clearest information in the case came not from police or attorneys but Dr. Balraj Jhawar, the neurosurgeon who treated Anne Widholm for what he described as “the worst skull fractures I’ve seen in my 12 years here in Windsor” and “among the most brutal things I’ve seen in my career.” Police said the attack was “random,” but Dr. Jhawar wasn’t having it.
“For all of us who live here in Windsor, we can’t tolerate this. This is not just another assault,” Jhawar explained. “This is concerning to me. This is maybe representing a new, dark side of Windsor that we can’t let propagate.”
Dr. Jhawar described victim Anne Widholm, as “a super good person. This is the calibre of woman we’re talking about here.” After two surgeries taking eight hours, Dr. Jhawar said, “I believe she will survive.” She didn’t.
Anne Widholm slipped into a coma and died 14 months after the attack. More than four months later, in April of 2019, the accused murderer has still not come to trial and nothing has emerged about his motive.
“Canadian man” Amor Ftouhi said he wanted to kill a cop to show that Allah is the greatest. Ftouhi was tried and sentenced, and as Lt. Neville said, “should never walk the streets again.” “Windsor man” Habibullah Ahmadi accused of the October 2017 attack is not on record about his motive. The major certainty in the case is that “super good person” Anne Widholm will never walk the Ganatchio Trail again.