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.
Amor Ftouhi’s statements stunned U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman, who said he’d been “wrestling very hard” with a decision about whether to allow the Tunisia native a chance to someday be released from prison.
Leitman said the remarks “persuaded me beyond any shadow of a doubt” that a life term was appropriate for the 51-year-old Ftouhi, who moved to Montreal in 2007.
Investigators said Ftouhi wanted to take Neville’s gun and start shooting people at Bishop Airport. Ftouhi legally entered the U.S. at Champlain, New York, and arrived in Flint five days later. He tried but failed to buy a gun at a gun show and instead bought a large knife.
Ftouhi said he had a good education and many skills but felt discrimination in Canada because he wasn’t a white Christian. He pledged allegiance to his Muslim faith and said western countries and Arabic countries should be cursed if they “don’t rule according to Allah.”
He was convicted in November of terrorism and two other crimes.