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Habibullah Ahmad, 21 charged with attempted murder of Anne Widholm, 75

Is radical Islam the “new dark side” of Windsor, Ontario?

Lloyd Billingsley image

By —— Bio and Archives October 25, 2017

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Habibullah Ahmad, 21 charged with attempted murder of Anne Widholm, 75

On Sunday, October 8, Anne Widholm, 75, took a stroll on the Ganatchio trail in Windsor, Ontario. Police are charging that Habibullah Ahmad, 21, attacked Widholm and left her unconscious and near death. Many questions about the attack remain unanswered.

Windsorites did learn that Widholm, a grandmother, suffered “the worst skull fractures I’ve seen in my 12 years here in Windsor,” as neurosurgeon Dr. Balraj Jhawar told reporters. The victim’s lacerated scalp, bruised face and fractured neck vertebrae were “among the most brutal things I’ve seen in my career.”

He was also denied bail, but beyond that, the cops seemed to be holding back

Widholm’s family told the doctor she strolled on the trail every Sunday, picking up litter as she walked along.

“This is a super good person,” Dr. Jhawar told reporters. “This is the calibre of woman we’re talking about here.” The man who is charged with attacking this good person, what is he about?

According to press reports, “Windsor man” Habibullah Ahmad is 21 years old and goes by the first name “Daniel.” He was initially charged with aggravated assault, later changed to attempted murder, more appropriate given the brutal nature of the attack. He was also denied bail, but beyond that, the cops seemed to be holding back.

At 21, Habibullah Ahmad is not a minor, so there was no legal obstacle to the release of information, including his booking photo. As of this writing, no photo has appeared.

Locals might wonder if Habibullah Ahmad has always been a “Windsor man,” and where he came from. Windsorites could be forgiven for wondering if Habibullah Ahmad might be an unvetted refugee who had been booted out of the USA. That was the case with Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somalian who recently mounted vehicle and knife attacks in Edmonton.

News stories contained no quotes from Habibullah Ahmad’s friends or co-workers, so locals might wonder what this guy does for a living. Could he perhaps be a student?

“Dark side of Windsor”

Windsorites might recall Sudanese refugee Jonathan Nicola, who played basketball for Central High School. He said he was 17 but he was really 29, and immigration officials failed to notice. No word whether Habibullah Ahmad was like that.

Above all, Windsorites had to wonder about Habibullah Ahmad’s motive for attempting to kill a 75-year-old grandmother. Police said the attack “appears to be random in nature,” but Dr. Jhawar finds that “absolutely unacceptable.”

“For all of us who live here in Windsor, we can’t tolerate this,” he told reporters. “This is not just another assault. . . . This is maybe representing a new, dark side of Windsor that we can’t let propagate.”

If this new “dark side of Windsor” involves radical Islam, this would not be its first appearance in the border city. In 2015, Windsor’s Arabic-language newspaper Al Forqan called knife attacks on Jews in Israel a “sacred duty of jihad.”

When this writer was growing up in Windsor, the only controversy involving Jews came when Isaac “Izzy” Novak declined to pitch a baseball game on Yom Kippur. Nobody said killing Jews was a sacred duty, and nobody tried to kill a 75-year-old grandmother out on her Sunday stroll.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jhawar is hopeful Anne Widholm will survive but “she is not out of the woods by any means.”

Lloyd Billingsley -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and Our Time After a While: Reflections of a Borderline Baby Boomer, a memoir about growing up in Windsor, Ontario.