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Canadian Teen Charged With "Incel"-Inspired Terrorism In Fatal Stabbing

The Canadian outlet Global News reported that the charges are the first of their kind to cite incel-inspired motivation for terrorism.

A teenager who allegedly stabbed three people, killing one, at an erotic massage parlor in Toronto earlier this year, has been charged with “incel”-inspired terrorism, police said. The charges, specifying incel ideologies as a motivation behind a terrorist attack, are believed to be the first of their kind in the country. 

The Toronto Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced the updated charges on Tuesday. The suspect, a 17-year-old boy who hasn’t been identified because of his age, was already facing first-degree murder and attempted murder charges after the incident on February 24. 

According to police, the suspect fatally stabbed Ashley Noelle Arzaga, a 24-year-old woman, who was found dead when officers arrived at the parlor shortly before 1 p.m. Arzaga was remembered as a loving mother, the Toronto Star reported, and she was an employee at the erotic massage parlor. Another man and woman were also found with multiple stab wounds on the scene.

Involuntary celibates — also known as “incels” — belong to an online subculture of men, often young, who self-identify as unable to find reomantic or sexual partnerships  despite wanting one, and subscribe to violent, misogynistic, as well as white supremacist, ideologies. The ideology has inspired other deadly rampages against women in the U.S., including that of Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, and Scott Beierle, who killed two people at a hot yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2018.

Alek Minassian who has been charged with allegedly killing 10 people, including eight women, after driving a van into a crowded street in Toronto in 2018, also told police that he was a member of the incel movement. However, Minassian, who has reportedly said that Rodgers inspired him, has not been charged with terrorism, though his case is ongoing.

It isn’t immediately clear how the teen in the Toronto parlor stabbing was allegedly motivated by incel beliefs, though police said evidence has shown that the incident was “in fact one in which the accused was inspired by the Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremist (IMVE) movement commonly known as INCEL.”

The Canadian outlet Global News reported that the charges are the first of their kind filed in the country to cite incel-inspired motivation for terrorist. The outlet also reported that it’s “believed to be the first time Canada’s anti-terrorism laws have been used to prosecute an act of violence by a suspect who was not an Islamist extremist.”

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair wouldn’t comment to CTV News about whether it’s the first time officers have made “incel”-related charges, but commended the decision to update the charges.

“I believe that's an appropriate use of that legislation,” Blair said. “Those types of motivations can't be tolerated in our society and they do seriously aggravate the nature of those crimes.”