Manitoba

'Arabic for Dummies' found in room of Winnipeg ISIS supporter

Police believe Winnipegger Aaron Driver could commit terrorist activities, but those who know the 23-year-old said Wednesday he was just an average guy working towards an education and who planned to go to Red River College to learn a trade.

Pictures of Aaron Driver's room show it was torn apart in police raid

'Arabic for Dummies' found in room of Winnipeg ISIS supporter. CBC's Caroline Barghout reports.

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

6 years ago
2:12
Police believe Winnipegger Aaron Driver could take part in terrorist activities, but those who know the 23-year-old said Wednesday he was just an average guy working towards an education and who planned to go to Red River College to learn a trade. 2:12

Police believe Winnipegger Aaron Driver could take part in terrorist activities, but those who know the 23-year-old said Wednesday he was just an average guy working towards an education and who planned to go to Red River College to learn a trade.

Driver was also trying to learn Arabic. 

One of the books found in his rented room after it was torn apart in a police raid last week was Arabic for Dummies.

The Charleswood family Driver lived with didn't want to be identified, but said he spent a lot of time on the computer in his room in the past year.

Aaron Driver, 24, was killed in a police standoff in Strathroy, Ont. last Wednesday (Facebook)
They said he was pleasant, helpful and followed the house rules.

Looking for friends 

Driver, who would later tweet his support for ISIS, an al-Qaeda splinter group, posted his plea for friends on social media website Reddit last year. He wrote: 

"So I moved here last year from London, ON to finish high school with the intention of moving back at the beginning of 2014, but I recently had a change or heart and decided to stay. Most my family and friends are back in Ontario as I pretty much grew up there and made most my friends through school, but now I'm starting to notice that I know f*** all about how to meet people and make friends with total strangers. I'm a teetotaler (putting my "Word a Day" app to good use ;) ), so bars/clubs are pretty much not an option, but I still need to have some kind of active social life to maintain my sanity. ANY and all suggestions and constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated! How can I meet people in this city? I'm feeling pretty lost, lay it on me."

Among the books found in Aaron Driver's rented room in a Charleswood home was a copy of "Arabic for Dummies."
He also liked working out, according to a later Reddit post. 

"Without a doubt my favourite thing to do is weight lifting. I belong to a gym and go on the regular, but I've never found it to be a very open, social environment, but maybe I'm wrong to think that way."

Up front about conversion to Islam

The room Aaron Driver rented from a family in Charleswood was torn apart during a police raid June 4.
Driver had also gone back to school to complete his Grade 12 math and English in hopes of getting his high school diploma.

His former teachers who did not want to give their names said he was enrolled in a continuing education program at Jameswood Alternative School from 2013 to 2014.

They said Driver was intelligent, respectful, worked hard, and was "a man who was aware of the world around him."

They added he was forthcoming about his conversion to Islam but he didn't try to convert anyone. 

Driver was arrested at a bus stop last Thursday as he was heading to work at a distribution warehouse in St. James.

Driver worked at this St. James warehouse from 2013 to 2014, according to his former colleagues who declined to talk about him. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)
CBC was told he had been employed there since fall of 2014. His former colleagues in shipping and receiving did not want to talk about about him.  

Driver is being held in custody but is not charged with anything. 

RCMP have applied for a peace bond against him, which would enable police to monitor him and restrict his activities.

His next court date is June 24.

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