A deadly stabbing at a massage parlor in Toronto in February is now being treated as a terrorist attack after police said they found evidence that the suspect was inspired by the misogynist incel movement.
The charges against the 17-year-old suspect were updated on Tuesday to first-degree murder with terrorist activity and attempted murder with terrorist activity, authorities announced. The suspect's name was not released as he is underage.
On Feb. 24, Ashley Noelle Arzaga, 24, was killed in the machete attack at Crown Spa, an erotic massage parlor in the North York district of Toronto. Arzaga was the mother of a 5-year-old girl.
Another two people were injured, including the spa owner, who, Global News reported, confronted the attacker and used the machete to subdue him until police arrived.
In a joint statement from the Toronto Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, authorities "determined that this crime was in fact one in which the accused was inspired by the Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremist (IMVE) movement commonly known as INCEL (involuntary celibate)."
The incel movement is an online misogynist subculture of men fueled by a hatred of women, who the men believe are preventing them from having the sex they are entitled to.
RCMP Sgt. Penny Hermann told the Star this is the first time Canadian authorities have used federal terrorism charges for a crime motivated by the incel ideology.
A number of high-profile incidents of deadly violence targeting women have taken place in Canada in recent years, including a man driving a van into a crowd of pedestrians on a Toronto sidewalk in April 2018, killing eight women and two men. He told authorities the attack was inspired by his incel beliefs.
The suspect in a shooting at a Quebec mosque, where eight people died in 2018, also harbored anti-immigrant and misogynist views. More recently, a shooting rampage that left 22 people dead in Nova Scotia earlier this year began with a domestic violence incident.
In 2018, a man who opened fire in a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, killing two women, was a far-right misogynist who railed against women and identified as an incel. Incels have also run suicide forums, which were held responsible by the family of a young woman in Pennsylvania for her death.
The incel movement first drew international attention after the 2014 shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California, that left six people dead.
"Terrorism comes in many forms and it's important to note that it is not restricted to any particular group, religion or ideology," the Canadian joint police statement said.